2/14/2008 5:13:00 PM Braggs delivers another side of life BLACK HISTORY MONTH
By Jaclyn Randall
Tim Braggs, 29, is one of the youngest United States Postal Office Postmaster's today. He was officially named Postmaster of Blythe's office the last week of January, coincidentally the same week as his birthday.
Braggs, one of eight children, was born and raised in San Diego. He is the son of Robert (deceased) and Jonell Braggs. He attended elementary school and high school in the San Diego area, graduating early in 1995 at the age of 16 after being a part of an accelerated study program that dealt with kids with behavioral problems. Braggs hung around with the wrong crowd in his youth.
"They were drinking and smoking and I was just hanging out, having fun," said Braggs, "I never did more than secondhand smoke."
But it wasn't until he lost a close friend and cousin to what he describes as "senseless violence" that he made the decision to look to what made sense.
"I backed up from normal day-to-day friends, looking for answers, when my Aunt and Uncle Olean and Lila Varner took me in and helped me," said Braggs.
According to Braggs, his aunt and uncle were instrumental in helping him realize that he was in control of the paths and decisions that he makes.
"I am in control," said Braggs.
With this new perspective of his life, he noticed a flyer in the mail that said the Postal Service was looking for clerks and carriers at the post office. This was 1997 and he went to the office in San Diego, applied, and then received the employment title of clerk.
Up until this time, Braggs stayed employed at menial jobs. This gave him a little money in his pockets to hang out with friends.
"I wasn't any different from a lot of black males, my friends weren't doing nothing and it wasn't until the people on the outside let me know there was more to life," said Braggs."I could be six feet under."
His first Postmaster was Ethel Kelley in San Diego and he attributes her for taking him under her wing and giving him plenty of guidance.
Her first advice to him was to get a folder and be organized.
During this time, Braggs returned to school, enrolling at San Diego City College. He later received his Associate of Science degree in Computer Science from Remington College.
After Kelley, Postmaster Dennis Dorman approached Braggs about putting his education to work.
Braggs had already become a carrier but took Dorman's prodding and became a detail and informational technologist. This detail meant traveling to the San Bernardino postal offices.
He had to drive to all of the 13 offices in the San Bernardino area to install new hardware, troubleshooting various issues, covering anything that was reported and that had to do with the computer or telecommunications equipment.
"I worked this detail for a year and gained lots of experience," said Braggs.
The next Postmaster was Jerry Patacsil, who observed Braggs making changes within the office to improve efficiency on carrier routes.
"After being a carrier, I wasn't satisfied with the maps so I redesigned, updated and created things that were beneficial," he said.
Patacsil was impressed and said he should consider applying for the supervisor position.
He did and he received the job and became the supervisor for the 32 postal offices in San Diego. His duties entailed overseeing clerks, carriers, delivery and distribution.
During the course of his journey, Braggs' father had relocated to Blythe and had become ill. After learning about his father's illness, a supervisor position became open in Blythe.
"After my father's cancer started to advance, his health took a turn for the worse. Blythe, I saw, was an opportunity to become closer to him and make sure he had the right care," Braggs said.
Recently retired Blythe Postmaster Moises Soria chose Braggs as the supervisor in Blythe in 2006.
For the first several months Braggs was juggling his new detail in Blythe and taking care of his father until he passed away in May 2007.
"I feel good about the opportunity to be there for him throughout his illness," said Braggs.
After Braggs' father's passing, he chose to remain in Blythe at his supervisor position.
"I stayed because I like the people and the community," said Braggs. "I also enjoy the Blythe team (staff). We are one big family."
Soria retired from the Blythe Post Office in September of 2007 and had discussions with Braggs about what it takes to be a postmaster.
"In discussions, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to pursue the postmaster detail," explained Braggs. "Moises was a great leader that believed in communication. He kept me in the light about anything. He led by example as all my postmasters did."
Braggs applied in November by sending in a resume and, once chosen as a candidate, was put through the competitive process of review boards and selecting officials.
The selecting officials are a group of high-level postmasters who put forth questions and scenarios to the postmaster applicants based on leaderships skills and abilities based on their own many years of experience.
Now Braggs has the job of overseeing four counties, one of which is in Arizona.
"We are unique," Braggs said. "We serve the Riverside, Imperial, San Bernardino and La Paz counties."
Braggs plans on taking the already good service at the post office and building upon it.
They currently hold Passport Saturdays, participated in the Christmas parade, winning first place, and adopted two families for the holidays, providing a vanload of food and presents.
The office was also recently nominated for the Five-Star National award for the last quarter. Only a small percentage of post offices receive this award and the prestigious award is given from headquarters in Washington, D.C.
"We really want to increase the positive image in the community," said Braggs.
Braggs can be used as an example to the youth in this community that if you put enough effort in something, it can be achieved.
"No matter what your circumstance, with God, a plan, hard work and effort, you can overcome anything and be the best at it," said Braggs.
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2008
Article comment by:
Great Job! I work for the Career Services at Remington College in San Diego, and it is wonderful to hear of our students finding their path in life. It is great to know our school makes a difference!
Thanks for the story.