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New postmaster takes duty to heart

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By Gayle Deaton

Robert Sparks is used to being in charge.

As a former marine who spent seven years in the service, he became accustomed to duty and discipline which are two qualities he brings with him to Shelbyville as its new postmaster.

But it's also in his blood.

His mother, Callie Potts, was a career postal employee and retired as the senior plant manager for the Kentucky and Southern Indiana area.

Born and raised in Louisville and Southern Indiana, Sparks, 45, has himself already logged 16 years with the U.S. Postal system.

His appointment as postmaster for Shelbyville is a permanent position, he said.

In fact, Sparks said he has already purchased a house and moved with his two children to the area.

Since taking over in June, Sparks has been focusing on a variety of issues such as customer service, safety, and promotion of new products.

"Our main goal is improving customer service and building a better rapport with the community," Sparks said.

Some of the projects he has on tap include sprucing up the outside of the building and finding ways to become more involved in the community.

In addition, Sparks said safety for both his carriers and customers is always a serious concern.

One of his first orders of business was to split the mailboxes in the Frankfort Road area to both sides of the road.

"It was brought to my attention it was very unsafe for customers to be crossing four lanes of traffic," he said.

Sparks also cited focusing on the achievement of his carriers who have outstanding safety records as ranking high on his list.

"We have one employee with 32 years of service without a motor vehicle accident," he said.

Some of the new products he said he hopes to get the word out about include a brand new Black Heritage stamp that went on sale Feb. 1.

For more information about the latest selection of stamps available, visit www.usps.com.