Everyday Heroes: Tara Lewis, Postmaster of West Tisbury

The resilient men and women serving our community in crisis, captured by Randi Baird

6
Tara Lewis, Postmaster of West Tisbury

While many are hunkered down at home, avoiding the public for each other’s benefit, there are a few who bravely risk exposure every day to serve our community. From the hospital employees providing care to the sick, the delivery drivers hauling supplies to the Island, the grocery store employees stocking the shelves, the school cafeteria workers and pantry volunteers providing meals for our vulnerable families — these are among the hundreds of people serving as critical lifelines for our community. Their efforts speak volumes for their character and dedication, and their acts of compassion and generosity serve as a silver lining amid a crisis we will never forget. I am compelled to capture them in their selfless moments of service, to share their stories and highlight their efforts, and to give a voice to these ‘Faces from the Front Line.’

Today Tara Lewis, the Postmaster of West Tisbury, finds herself on the frontlines of a global pandemic. Mail delivery has always been essential to our Island community, but Tara’s work, and those of all postal employees, has become more important than ever. 

“People need to get their medicine and salary checks,” she told me. “On this Island, it is difficult to get goods because most of the stores are closed so people really depend on the mail for delivery.”

Tara’s everyday efforts have been amplified by increased demands on the mail system along with added concerns about keeping her facility safe and clean while adhering to CDC and government guidelines. Now, this Everyday Hero is twice as busy cleaning things she never thought about cleaning before — pens, staplers, tape, doorknobs, and basically anything and everything that comes in contact with people. She is constantly using hospital-grade disinfectant to spray down the mailboxes, and other surfaces, and expects at least another month of these heightened practices. “I’m just happy to be getting people what they need.”

 

Randi Baird has been working as a professional photographer for three decades, and before moving to Martha’s Vineyard in 1995, worked as a photojournalist for Greenpeace. She is a visual storyteller, and her photographs serve as a means of communication, educating, and enacting social change. She is a regular contributor to magazines and journals on and off island, has produced photography for three cookbooks and is a founding member of Island Grown Initiative, a non profit organization dedicated to building a regenerative, equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard. You can reach her at 508.505.5909; Randibaird.com   

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Randi. Nice article on our new Postmaster, Tara Lewis, and the West Tisbury Post Office. I’ve used the three down island Post Offices over many years, since 1980, and West Tisbury’s since 2011. The West Tisbury Post Office feels like a slice of country life, with a strong sense of community, to boot. The thought of having to switch over to one of the down island Post Offices would literally factor in my decision about moving to a different town. This one would be hard to leave behind. A lot of us in West Tisbury know how lucky we are. As you mention, the Post Office has become even more important to us all in recent days. We can support them by buying more stamps.

  2. Tara and the WTPO crew rock. There’s a reason why people from other towns get their mail in WT, and/or post their letters, bills, and parcels from WT. That’s why I got my mail in WT even when I lived in other towns.

  3. Every Day and Unsung Heros!
    I think Tara, Diane and Jack are some of the hardest ‘essential’ workers on the Island. They are the lifeline for so many of us who have been self-isolating for the last two months and are still anxious about going out in public. I never forget to express my appreciation to them for their hard work and dedication to efficiently operating the West Tisbury postal service. Thank you ….

    • splitrock7, thanks for mentioning Diane and Jack……… I had already put my post up and realized I should have mentioned them. They are both amazing. I remember when my dog’s medication was late arriving via USPS last year because the PetMed company shipped it late. Diane saw me a few days later and asked me if my dog’s pills ever arrived. She really cared about it. It’s like that. And Jack plays the best background music. More than once I’ve asked him what’s playing in the background. Maybe we shouldn’t be telling people how much fun it is there?

  4. Maybe if the very vulnerable part of the local population would just stay home and not get mail every day this place Wouldn’t have to work so hard !!
    Seriously if you are over 75 you are at the highest risk.
    Stay home. We will get the mail for you!!
    Unreal
    Let the young work with no restrictions!!!!

Comments are closed.