Patrick O’Donnell was one of the postal workers infected in October 2001 when anthrax showed up at the Hamilton, New Jersey regional distribution center in mail headed for the U.S. Senate. Now 10 years later, O’Donnell is facing a different dilemma.
Although it has been over ten years since I was exposed to Anthrax I continue to work at a US postal facility in close proximity to the Hamilton, New Jersey postal facility where I was exposed. I still suffer severe P.T.S.D. as diagnosed in the attached report form my physician, which has been exacerbated by my work situation and impacted my ability to return to work on a full-time basis. I am currently working on a modified schedule through Workmen’s Compensation since my return to the postal service in 2005.
Upon my return in 2005, I was told by US Postal Officials that I would be able to transfer to an office near my home in Pennsylvania at a job where I could assist with processing and delivering next day express mail and/or help out with overall service to improve customer relations. Although I have made multiple fair and reasonable requests, I continue to work at a postal facility located only 300 yards from the same building where I was exposed and have been required to work at a job to sort and throwaway waste mail. Unfortunately, due to the continued stress, I have been unable to successfully learn a scheme job with over 500 streets, which has been an overwhelming embarrassment and further mental strain. Despite the fact that there are at least 10 post offices in a 10 mile radius of my home, US Postal Officials have been unwilling to honor their promise and continue to ignore my requests.
Without having been through this experience, it has been impossible for others, including US Post Officials, to comprehend the mental and physical toll I face each day driving back and forth to work and seeing the postal facility – a constant reminder of this terrible, near-fatal exposure I suffered. This has proven to be no help what so ever in me trying to obtain closure and getting on with my life.
I just want to spend my last years of service at a facility with a less stressful, remindful environment. I am a very courteous, professional worker and I have no doubt that I will be a valuable asset in the right environment. I JUST NEED A CHANCE.
A few years ago, O’Donnell requested that USPS reimburse him $1,000 for all the personal items that federal agents took from his house to test for anthrax spores.The list included 27 articles of clothing, a Sony Walkman, four pairs of shoes, a Jansport backpack, and 50 compact discs. On Jan. 10, 2003 O’Donnell got a letter from the Postal Service saying that before it would consider his claim, he would have to come up with receipts for every item seized by agents.