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Father, daughter love their postal roots

Julia Nagy | The Natchez Democrat — Ferriday Postmaster Toni Lambert has followed in the footsteps of her father, former Vidalia Postmaster Jack Milligan.

By Julia Nagy

When she was 5 years old, Toni Lambert saw the world from her father’s mail carrier bag.

Lambert, now the postmaster in Ferriday, would follow her father, Jack Milligan, out on his postal routes, and he would carry her back home in his bag.

“You hear about Army brats, I guess I’m the postal brat,” Lambert said.

Lambert was appointed postmaster of the Ferriday Post Office Oct. 6. Her father was the postmaster in Vidalia from the late 1970s to 1992.

Lambert grew up around the post office hearing her father’s stories about his postal adventures.

“I thought it was neat,” Lambert said. “It just gets in your blood.”

Milligan said he’s proud of his daughter and happy to be someone in her life to which she can look up.

“It’s a difficult job, but it’s a wonderful thing,” Milligan said. “I know what it takes to get where she’s at. When your kids are doing good, there’s nothing like that.”

Milligan started his postal career in the early 1960s, when he was summoned by the postmaster at the time and given a job, working for $2.16 an hour.

Milligan told the postmaster he’d work for him for two weeks and if the postmaster wasn’t satisfied with the work, then he wouldn’t owe Milligan a penny.

Thirty-eight years later, Milligan retired from the job.

Lambert said she was always amazed at how her father could rattle off the addresses of everyone in town.

“In a community this size, you always go the extra step,” Lambert said.

Her postal career began in 1987, when she started as a clerk in the post office in Clayton.

Lambert was studying elementary education in college at the time.

“I guess post office must have been in the cards,” Lambert said. “I knew from day one (of the clerk job) I wanted to be a postmaster.”

And the family tradition doesn’t stop with Lambert. Her daughter Laci Fitt is currently a relief postmaster in Collinston, La.

Fitt wants to become a special education teacher, but a job at the post office happened to come around first.

“So why not?” Fitt said. “I really like it. I’ve heard postal talk. I pretty much know all the lingo after so many years.”

Fitt, just like her mom, grew up around postal talk. Her stepfather is postmaster of Rayville, La.

Fitt said her mother and grandfather always talk about the post office.

“OK guys, don’t we have lives outside the post office?” Fitt said. “They’re very passionate about their jobs.”

When Fitt missed school due to illness as a child, she would tag along with her mom to work.

On Christmas morning, her mother delivered express mail, so Lambert put a Santa hat on Fitt and took her on her route.

“Growing up seeing that and seeing how passionate they are makes me want to find something I’m passionate about,” Fitt said.

Lambert said she’s loved her career so far and has loved working in a small-time community.

“It’s very rewarding when you can go and people recognize you,” Lambert said. “I like interacting with the public, helping them with the things they need.”