Ask any regular visitor to the Douglas Post Office about postal clerks Lee Kearney and Dean Ruby, and they'll likely say, "Service with a smile."
With a combined 45 years experience in Juneau's postal industry, lead sales associate Kearney, 50, and sales and distribution clerk Ruby, 48, have worked together in Douglas almost 11 years now. They are known for giving out doggie treats, carrying out packages for those in need and being just plain friendly.
"They are very helpful, cheerful, easygoing, compassionate, and they know everyone and everything about them," said Bev Smith, a Douglas resident since the early 1990s. "They take a real interest in their customers."
"We like helping people out," Kearney said. "We treat them good, they treat us good. It's nice."
Like his late father, Kearney was born and raised in Juneau. His mother and two brothers live here, and his great-grandparents are buried in Douglas. That, coupled with his 30 years experience in Juneau's post offices, gives him a special appreciation for the town.
"The people are great. It's a good community," Kearney said. "My family goes back a ways. It seems like at one point I used to know everybody in town."
Even though Ruby has less postal experience, 15 years, and has lived here fewer years, 18, he still feels a strong connection and appreciation for the Juneau and Douglas communities.
"I enjoy working with the customers," he said. "I like the smallness of it. Douglas is its own community here."
And apparently, the two work well together.
"Lee is a good guy to work with," Ruby said. "He knows everybody, knows his job. He wants to get the work done like I do, so neither one of us have to work harder to take up the other one's slack."
"Dean is a good worker," Kearney echoed. "Stuff gets done. We work hard to get the mail done. I trust him. He trusts me. We get along good. It's enjoyable to work with good people, a good coworker, good customers."
Heather Sincic, a Juneau resident since 1992, values the recognition she gets when she visits the Douglas Post Office.
"When I travel out of Alaska, this is the only Post Office you can call where they say, 'Hi, Heather, how are you?', and they will know you," Sincic said. "My parents-in-law have had the same post box for years, and you can't pay for that. You can't pay for that recognition where you're halfway across the country and someone says, 'How are you?'"
Emily Wall, a 13-year Douglas resident, visited the post office last week with her two daughters, Anna Caroline, 2, and Helen, 8 months. The said they "always love the Douglas Post Office."
"We always love the Douglas Post Office," Wall said. "These guys give (my daughter) little coloring books, and they're always super friendly. It's just relaxing and fun to be here."
And if a piece of mail has a slightly wrong address on it but has the Douglas zip code, Dean and Lee know where it goes, Smith said.
"They know all the customers and their box numbers by heart," she said. "They remember so much that you will hear them asking Douglas residents as they approach the counter about their family, their pet, their favorite team, their job, etc. ... Dean and Lee are wonderful guys. They are like a community newspaper themselves."
Contact Neighbors editor Kim Andree at firstname.lastname@example.org.