BUENA VISTA, Colo. (KDVR) — Residents in Buena Vista have been missing mail for weeks, especially along rural routes, but the Problem Solvers are learning help is on the way.

The issue is particularly worrisome for folks like Jackie and Frank Ponikvar, who are both retired and rely on the United States Postal Service to deliver their 11 prescriptions through the mail, treating a range of health issues from heart conditions to restless leg syndrome.

“Why did they let this situation get so bad before they did something about it?” Jackie Ponikvar said.

According to the couple, their medication had been sitting at the Buena Vista post office since Jan. 13. They were told the post office didn’t have enough people to sort the mail, let alone hit all the routes the office covers in the area.

The Problem Solvers reached out to USPS on Jan. 19 to ask how the mail was being prioritized in the area without full staff. James Boxrud, who handles communication for USPS in the state said after speaking with the postmaster in the area he “assured me that he will prioritize medications and have them delivered.”

The Ponikvars had their medication delivered Monday morning.

This isn’t the first issue the community has had with mail delivery. The Problem Solvers reported over the summer about the lack of delivery services and decent service, and how USPS made a decision to give some residents free PO boxes in the fall.

How USPS is addressing staffing challenges in Buena Vista

According to Boxrud, the office in Buena Vista has been short “as much as half of our carrier staff” over the last few weeks.

To assist, USPS is bringing in help from surrounding areas and even out of state until they can fill several positions.

Boxrud said three employees from the Colorado Springs and Pueblo area were moved to Buena Vista on Jan. 21, in addition to one employee they brought in from outside Colorado the week before.

The additional employees will help for the next two to three weeks and assist with the backlog. Boxrud said they should be “caught up” with the backlog of mail by this Tuesday or Wednesday.

“And the thing about it is, it’s not the postmaster’s fault,” Frank Ponikvar said. “We know that. We feel sorry for him, he’s got a lot on his shoulders. He just can’t get anybody to work.”

Several openings at Buena Vista USPS

Boxrud said the challenges in Buena Vista are not unique to Colorado mountain and resort communities.

USPS is currently looking for two full-time mail carriers, four substitute carriers and three clerk positions. People interested can apply on the USPS website. Applicants have to be 18 years of age or older and pass a drug screening and criminal background investigation.

If you’re interested in a driving position, you must have a valid state driver’s license and safe driving record, along with two years of unsupervised experience driving passenger cars or larger.