After nearly two decades with the U.S. Postal Service, Pam Shiver has earned the top prize, and it’s only a few blocks away from where she grew up.

On June 10, Shiver was awarded the postmaster position for the Eastpoint office, which handles all the mail for Eastpoint and St. George Island, in the 32328 zip code.

When she got the news the smile that she has worn regularly behind the counters at the Apalachicola and Eastpoint post offices beamed even brighter.

She’s still handling work in Apalachicola, but she’ll soon be back in Eastpoint to assume the multi-faceted duties of a postmaster, ranging from hiring and training, staffing and scheduling, to maintaining the safety and security of the office, and its standards and efficiencies.

In overseeing employees and deliveries, in which include two sales associates and four highway contract routes, she’s set clear goals,

“I want to maintain the confidence of the Eastpoint and St. George Islanbd residents and deliver the customer service that they have come to expect for our hometown post office,” she said. “The Eastpoint post office will be innoviate with the changing times and relevant to the needs of our customers.”

Shiver’s road to the top job at the small, busy post office began 35 years ago, and a few blocks away, when she moved in 1982 with her family to Adams Street, where her parents, Connie and Jim Cooper, still reside. She started middle school in Carrabelle, and later attended Apalachicola High School, where she graduated in 1988.

After five years working as a correctional officer with the Florida Department of Corrections, she was hired in 1998 as a retail associate in Eastpoint. After 15 years there, she transferred to Apalachicola in 2013, and has worked there ever since as a full-time clerk, and frequently as officer-in-charge.

She said the biggest challenges of the post office relates to package deliveries, because oftentimes packages are received incorrectly addressed or sent to a street address when the recipient has a P.O. Box.

“We realize that many companies will not accept P.O. boxes as an address,” she said. “But you can have a box at your home in addition to your P.O. box. That way, you can establish delivery and have the things you want delivered to your home, such as packages, addressed accordingly, and receive items you want secure to your P.O. box.”

By her appointment, Shiver became among the more than 60 percent of postmasters who are female. (While sometimes referred to as “postmistresses,” their official title has always been “postmaster”)

Female postmasters have been prevalent in the South ever since the Civil War, when many women were hired as postmasters because prior to July 1868, prospective postmasters had to swear that they had not voluntarily aided the Confederacy or Confederate soldiers. Few Southern men could take that oath.

During World War II, the number of female postmasters increased significantly and after the war it , their overall numbers decreased slightly as men returned from the war and reclaimed their jobs.