Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

For those in the lower Northern Neck who have traveled abroad in the last 16 years, the name of Linda Davenport should be quite familiar. Until three years ago when she became the officer-in-charge of the Wicomico Church post office, Linda worked at the Kilmarnock post office, where she specialized in getting customers their passports. 

If the world of passports were to become an Olympic sport, Linda would exceed Michael Phelps in the number of gold medals won. Her knowledge of the system of producing a passport with its myriad of attendant rules and regulations is awesome. She clearly has memorized all the stipulations, and she can answer any questions a customer might have. 

As one who has languished for hours in line at the Passport Office in the Department of State in Washington in times past, waiting to submit the required documentation prior to the issuance of a new passport, I am able to admire all the more Linda’s grasp of her work and her efficiency in getting the job done. 

At the time of one of my renewals at the Passport Office, many years ago, I stood in line next to the Washington Post columnist, Joseph Alsop, who—when he finally got to the counter—truly exploded over the delay and red tape he had experienced. He definitely was not a fan of bureaucracy. Would that he could have fast-forwarded and come to Kilmarnock during Linda’s tenure there to see how the process can be done smoothly, pleasantly and efficiently. 

Linda has said that in the three years she has been at Wicomico Church, she has missed the passport aspect of her service, as the Wicomico Church office does not handle passport issuance, instead referring customers to Kilmarnock. In all aspects of her professional career, Linda has been a stellar example of how to serve the public’s needs and wishes. At every turn, she is the picture of composure and politeness, always willing to listen and to assist whenever she can.  She truly conveys the pleasure she derives from being able to help folks through whatever obstacles that hinder their progress towards their desired end results.

Solving complex cases and situations is another of Linda’s fortes. Recently a letter mailed from Wicomico Church to Europe in 1997 was returned to the post office. Linda immediately went into action attempting to resolve who had mailed it, and why it came back almost 24 years later. If an answer to this conundrum can be found, Linda will find it.

Linda is a fastidious person. The postal lobby and her office and work area are pristinely neat. In that regard, she is following in the footsteps of her predecessors, Shirley Jackson and Pauline Saunders, the latter of whom is now the postmaster of Kilmarnock, after a brief stint as postmaster in White Stone. Neatness comes naturally to Linda, and her attention to detail is inspiring to everyone who knows her.

As the news media frequently reports on the institutional woes facing the U.S. Postal Service, I often reflect that if Linda, or Pauline, or Pauline’s predecessor as Kilmarnock postmaster, Millie Sanjuan—or better still, all three of them together—could go to Washington, the system could be solidly on its feet in a week. We have been fortunate to have these dedicated public servants in our midst.

As tomorrow is Linda’s birthday, I have written this item both to wish her well for the occasion, and to offer the appreciation of one among many for her diligent efforts to make life better for everyone she serves. She constantly shows that governmental agencies can be responsive to the needs of the citizenry.

Happy Birthday, Linda! You are at the Peak of Youth!