KALISPELL, MONT. — After almost a month of unknowns, unanswered questions and a Coram community dedicated to their local post office, there could be some good news.
A Coram resident submitted a new bid to take over the contract for the post office on June 16, after finding out it was going to be closed.
Unlike many others, the Coram Post Office has meant more to Gary Paduana from an early age than just a place to receive mail.
“Personally, my mother was a postmaster, and I’ve also worked at a post office when I was younger,” said Paduana.
Although there is no official word yet whether the postal service accepted Paduana’s bid, USPS manager of communications David Rupert confirmed it was the only bid and is “moving in the right direction.”
The post office faced closure after the previous contract holder's agreement expired over a year ago.
The post office was set to close June 30 to be replaced with 170 cluster boxes.
“I thought this was something that I needed to do. I had a sense of duty for this, where I felt somebody had to step and fill this role, because it’s critical infrastructure here for Coram,” said Paduana.
With all things pointing to a hopeful outcome, we spoke with the postmaster and residents about the new information.
“I can honestly say that I never really lost hope. I’m kind of excited about him keeping this place open or potentially keeping this place open, because stepping away from this community and not seeing these people on a daily basis would’ve been very hard for me,” said Coram Postmaster Dayna Miller.
“We’re ecstatic. I know the community has been pushing for it as well, just whatever ways we can come up with to advocate for the local post office to stay in place. So yeah, we’re just really excited that the possibility is still there,” said Coram resident Andy Adcock.
Paduana hopes he will receive word from USPS officials on whether his bid was approved any day now.
“I have no plans of stopping it, this isn’t a temporary thing. This is something we need, and I'll make it work as long as we can,” said Paduana.
For now, he has the backing of his local community and U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester.
“I urge you to promptly review and provide all due consideration to the bid put forward by a member of the community, which I recently conveyed to United States Postal Service (USPS) headquarters,” said Daines. “Montanans rely upon the USPS for the timely delivery of everything from vital prescriptions to enabling rural small businesses to compete on the global stage and connecting families. I am a strong supporter of the USPS and ensuring it continues to serve Montanans from all corners of the state.”
In a Twitter post, Tester wrote: “After hearing from concerned Montanans, I’m urging @USPS to do whatever it takes to ensure continued postal operations in Coram, Folks in Montana rely on the postal service for everything from Rx drugs to Social Security benefits. They’ve got to be able to access these services.”