Sept. 14, 2022

Letter Carrier Goes Everywhere in Elgin

Bruno Zuniga has delivered to many iconic places

Bruno Zuniga
Zuniga has delivered to many iconic buildings in Elgin during his career. At left is the Elgin Natural History Museum (1907), Tower Building (1929), and Elgin Museum (1856). “I love historical things,” says Zuniga.

ELGIN, ILLINOIS — Elgin is filled with history. This can be seen in the beautiful buildings that take up various parts of the landscape. Whether it is the Elgin Museum (1856) or the art deco Tower Building completed right at the start of Great Depression (1929), Elgin is a place that keeps step with its history.

Also keeping step is Letter Carrier Bruno Zuniga. As a 17-year employee and certified trainer, Zuniga is familiar with Elgin’s historic structures, having delivered mail to practically all of them.

“These structures are iconic,” says Zuniga. “That’s what attracts me to them, the art of the buildings. And I can imagine how former carriers used to walk from the Post Office right out to their routes.”

Originally trained as an engineer, Zuniga found himself unemployed after 9/11 and needed a job that would provide a solid career, one where he could grow and support his family. He found that career at the Elgin Post Office, a place not far from his longtime home, where history means something to him. “I try to keep the tradition of what they [carriers] did back then alive today,” says Zuniga, whose detailed work ethic can be seen inside his truck. Every tray of mail and parcel is neatly arranged in its proper place. “Practicing good work habits is what I do.”

When Zuniga became a carrier, he was trained by those that came before him. The way he sees it, he is part of a long line of postal descendants that goes back to the start of the country. History is not just in the buildings but also in his job. And he feels it is his responsibility to pass on what he has learned to the next generation of postal employees. “I was taught at the Academy where I learned a lot,” he says. “I also learned a lot from the older carriers.”

This mix of experience and expertise is something Zuniga enjoys sharing with new employees. “I do this job so I can teach new employees what I know,” he says. “I do this so they can become good carriers and hopefully better than me. I want to pass my knowledge on to them.”

But perhaps what touches Zuniga most is all the people he has served over the years. This is the special part of his job, watching time pass and seeing history get made right before his eyes.

“I get to see the kids grow up,” he says with a big smile. “I see them become adults and get married and have their own kids. That’s what keeps me coming back – the people. It gets you emotional just thinking about it.” So, how long does he plan on working? “As long as I can still keep walking,” says Zuniga. “I feel young at heart.”

The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.



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