Freitag sworn in as Park Rapids postmaster
Scott Freitag was sworn in Friday as the postmaster at the U.S. Post Office in Park Rapids.
The oath was administered by Eric Brademan, manager of post office operations for the Northland District, in the basement of the post office.
Following the ceremony, guests, including previous postmaster Angel Peterson and relatives from as far away as Green Bay, Wis., celebrated the event with snacks, cake and soft drinks.
Originally from the Twin Cities area, Freitag has worked for the U.S. Postal Service since 1985, starting in the main post office in downtown Minneapolis and holding various customer service positions in the metro area. He has been in management since 2006, working for the past eight years at a post office in Fridley.
A cancer survivor, Freitag said his diagnosis was the impetus for him to do what he always wanted to do — to become a postmaster.
Freitag is a second-generation postal employee. His father, who died at age 45, also worked for the Postal Service, and was a supervisor at the main post office in Minneapolis.
"I know he's smiling in heaven, and would be so proud," Freitag said in a prepared speech.
Scott Freitag and his wife, Katy, moved from Blaine to a home on Fifth Crow Wing Lake in Nevis. Their six children (four his, two hers) are grown, but they have a golden retriever puppy named Puck.
"All the kids are kind of spread around," Katy said. "They're going to come visit us, when they hear how great it is."
"It's kind of a dream come true for both me and my wife," said Scott. "We look forward to fishing."
Peterson served as postmaster here from November 2017 through August 2018. After she moved on to become the Aitkin postmaster, Brett Boysen was the local USPS officer in charge in Park Rapids until last November.
"Scott took over after I left," Boysen said. "This is just the swearing-in ceremony. He's been the postmaster since November."
Freitag called Boysen a "great trainer" who "continues to be a source of knowledge for me."
Postal employee Ruth Gollhofer, whom Freitag also singled out for helping him "look good every day," said she has seen several postmasters during her five years at the Park Rapids post office.
In his oath, Freitag swore to support and defend the U.S. Constitution with "true faith and allegiance" as well as to "well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office of postmaster."
According to Brademan, duties of a postmaster officially include managing daily operations; hiring, training and supervising postal workers; enforcing postal regulations; overseeing customer service; handling administrative tasks; managing mail distribution; resolving complaints and informing the public of postal regulations.
In addition, said Brademan, postmasters may have to "rally the troops" to respond to a crisis, cover postal routes or the retail window when another employee can't, and make sure all employees get the time off they need before scheduling their own.
"They will lend an ear, and even a shoulder sometimes, to their employees," said Brademan. "Overall, a postmaster will take responsibility for and be accountable for all mail-related items in their community."
Race against cancer
According to Katy Freitag, Scott was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after their marriage in September 2017. After surgery in March 2018, residual cancer was found to have metastasized and he was upgraded to Stage 4.
"At this point, Scott decided time was of the essence, and he decided to expeditiously move forward on his dream of being a postmaster up north through to retirement," she said. "He had visited friends in Park Rapids before and loved the area, so when a Park Rapids postmaster position came up he applied and got the job."
Katy explained the gap between Scott starting a postmaster in November and his March swearing-in as due to his ongoing treatment, including hormone therapy and radiation at the Mayo Clinic.
"Scott has been advocating for men to remember to have the blood test and get their PSA checked, as early detection — before symptoms set in — can make a big difference in the prognosis," said Katy.