SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Behind the scenes, there are thousands of United States Postal workers making sure you get your packages and letters on time.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness month.
At San Diego’s Margaret Sellers Mail Processing facility, there’s one special employee who is an inspiration to his colleagues and those with physical limitations.
Frank Facio, 63, is not your ordinary United States Postal Service mail processing clerk.
“You can tell there is a window here and a flap here,” said Facio.
As he describes his job he doesn’t have to see which way the mail faces, he lets the feel of the envelope guide him.
“I wake up blind every day and I don't let my blindness get in the way. That is a key for me,” said Facio.
Frank was 17 years old when he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, it’s an eye disease that over time caused him to go completely blind.
Before he lost his full sight, he joined USPS and because of his sight, he’s had to transition to other positions. He’s been a mail processing clerk for the last 28 years and doesn’t plan to leave USPS.
“If the people that are doing the hiring if they look beyond their handicap or blindness, they will find someone who can be a valuable worker,” said Facio.
Frank’s manager used to work side-by-side with him.
“I thought, 'is he going to slow me down?' but no, he is who he is and he is one-of-a-kind and one of many who are one-of-a-kind,” said Benjie Aficial, USPS Distribution Operations Manager.
USPS says it provides careers for many people like Frank and others who have limitations.
The 39-year USPS employee also has a 4-year-old guide dog Garfunkel to assist.
“They really are the unsung heroes in my life,” said Facio.
But often it’s Frank who spots the jams before others can see it.
“I have done over a billion pieces of mail, and I am really proud of that,” said Facio.
The only modification to his workstation is adding braille to the stackers.
“That is what has allowed me to extend my career at the post office for almost 40 years,” said Facio.
And you’ll often catch Frank singing a country tune on the job. He’s in the Steelehorse Country Band where two other bandmates are visually impaired.
He doesn’t let his blindness get in the way of his love for the game, he travels the country playing in blind baseball tournaments.
“It's just freedom because no one is helping you,” said Facio.
Instead, it’s Frank who is helping others see beyond a disability.
“Hopefully I can educate people in showing or telling them that as long as you open your mind, a lot of things will happen,” said Facio.
The USPS says it is hiring 40,000 new employees across the nation for its “peak season” holiday plan and deploying new machinery at select locations and redesigning mail processing and transportation networks and currently seeking applicants for postal jobs in the San Diego area.
Local applicants should go to www.usps.com/careers and select “California” as their location and type in “San Diego” (or any other city) as their preferred location.
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