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Community delivers fond farewells to postmaster

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By The Staff

A notebook filled with farewell comments from local residents summed up the recent departure of the Indian Hills postmaster, who had served that community for 11 years.

To keep the tributes a secret, residents took turns writing in the notebook across the street from the post office at the Basecamp Caf. But postmaster J.B. (like the Scotch) Mulder (as in “The X Files”) still knew, because he knew just about everything that went on in Indian Hills.

“We loved coming in, you always had a smile, we loved your sense of humor,” one local wrote.

“Within 2 or 3 days you knew my name. I think that made the biggest impact,” wrote another resident.

And Mulder did know them — the names of the kids and the dogs, what cars they drove. It was part of his strategy to run his office like an entrepreneur, to care for customers and encourage repeat business. To accomplish that, Mulder admits, he was a bit “nosey.”

“People would get their mail, and I would say, ‘Hi, Bill. Hey, Sherry!’ And they would go, ‘Do you know everybody in the area?’ and I would say, ‘Yeah, and then some.’ ”

With no mail-delivery service in Indian Hills, the 720 boxes in the office are mostly in use, which left little time for leisure. Mulder often worked 60 or 70 hours a week, even on Sundays, to handle the volume of mail. But that didn’t curb his enthusiasm.

“I loved it. I (thought) I’d died and gone to heaven,” he said of landing the job in 1997.

“I had to take a big cut in pay, but I’ll tell you, it was worth it for the sanity. Evergreen’s a pressure cooker ee it’s so big and so busy, and Indian hills is so sweet.”

When Mulder was a college student in Maryland, he worked part-time at a local post office on the graveyard shift. The post office wasn’t part of his career plan, but he discovered he liked the organization, and when an opening came up in Colorado near the home of his sister, he relocated.

His first position was in Evergreen as a window clerk, followed by a supervisor post in Englewood. Then he served in a supervisor position at the old Stapleton Airport in Denver where air mail was processed. Partway through his career, he moved back to Evergreen, where he worked as a manager of operations. When necessary, he filled in for absent mail carriers and delivered routes. For a short while he filled in as postmaster in Bailey.

Then, Mulder landed the position in Indian Hills. He was finally his own boss, responsible for his own budget and ways to increase revenue.

Clientele came from all over — Conifer, Evergreen, Morrison and Deer Creek Canyon — to avoid long lines at their own post offices. Or they simply preferred the small, quaint appeal of the Indian Hills office.

People have even driven up from Parker during Christmas because of the good service, he said.

“If I had a line standing in my lobby and it was dead quiet, I would say, ‘You know, you are not in an elevator — you need to start talking with each other,’ ” Mulder said. “I would get things going; I would mess with them.”

Mulder, the father of three boys, even took time to look after children if they got off the bus near the post office and parents weren’t there to pick them up.

Mulder was single while serving as postmaster for Indian Hills. It afforded him the chance to grow closer than usual to the small community, even though he lived in the Denver area.

Despite that closeness, however, few knew this little tidbit: Mulder has a twin brother named Larry who lives in North Carolina. He is a retired chief warrant officer with the Coast Guard.

“It was fairly rare that I gave information on myself,” Mulder said. “I was usually digging for information on others.”

Mulder ran the post office with the help of Shelly Donahue, who worked alongside him, part-time, for about eight years. She will assist the new postmaster, Steve Moore, who started June 23.

By the time Mulder retired last week, he had been a civil servant for more than 40 years. Thirty-eight of those were with the post office and four with the Coast Guard. He will now spend more time with his granddaughter, work on his ‘55 Ford, do some remodeling and tinker with a little side business he has helping people with travel plans at www.tripswithjb.com

Mulder had no idea how much he had affected the lives of those he served in Indian Hills. He learned about it the last day on the job when he was given the notebook filled with heartwarming anecdotes, and when “everyone” stopped in to bid him farewell.

“I worked at a lot of offices in my career, (but) Indian Hills was the best I have ever come across,” Mulder said.

Moore takes over postmaster position

Steve Moore is raring to go. The new Indian Hills postmaster arrived June 23. A father of three girls who drives a Harley, Moore is tackling his new role with enthusiasm.

“I’ve never cased mail, never delivered — this is a brand new avenue for me, and it’s a good one,” Moore said. “It opens up lots of different avenues.”

Moore has been with the U.S. Postal Service for 13 years. Formerly, he worked in the “express” division serving the Colorado-Wyoming region. And he also worked at the air-mail center at Denver International Airport.

His most recent role with express mail was cut along with other positions as part of a redevelopment strategy within the organization, he said.

Typically, postmaster positions require a bid process from within the organization among those who are most qualified. But when Moore learned of the opening in Indian Hills, he applied for the role and got the job. He had worked behind the scenes for the Postal Service; now he will work the “other side of the building.”

“I am good worker, I learn quick and I will do well,” he said.

Moore is a Vietnam veteran who served four years as a “Navy ordnance man.” He lives in Northglenn with two of his youngest daughters, who are in high school.

“I am single — make sure you put that in,” he said.

Years ago he drove a truck for Conoco hauling gasoline but grew tired of smelling like the substance he delivered.

Moore has already begun to acquaint himself with the locals in Indian Hills. Last weekend he stopped into the Sit-n-Bull tavern and introduced himself, he said. (He is also a motorcycle instructor.)

He hopes to treat everybody the way he would like to be treated in his new role, he said. And he brings a little of his own laid-back philosophy to the job.

“If you wake up — it’s a good day,” he said. “You might as well have a good time, because the alternative sucks.”