Postmaster says Sweet Home a good place to put down roots

Scott Swanson

Wendy Lentz is finally home – in Sweet Home.

Lentz has settled in as postmaster in charge of the Sweet Home Post Office after officially being sworn in last October. Actually getting here, though, was a process.

“Because of other details, I did not get here till January,” she said. “That’s how the Post Office works sometimes. I’ve been on the road for the last three years.”

Actually, Lentz is hoping this will be the end of a road that has included many details, she said. Those include stops in Tidewater, Waldport, Alsea, Yachats, Depoe Bay, Hillsboro, as a financial manager in Bend and Lakeview, and as postmaster in Coburg for three years.

“Nick and I are really pleased to be on this side of the mountain because our family lives at the coast,” she said, referring to Nick Nickerson, her “significant other” of 10-plus years. Between them, they have nine children and nine grandchildren. “That’s really important for us, to be close to them, to our grandkids.

She was born and raised in Rochester, Pa., near Pittsburg – “Got my Pittsburg Steelers on the wall,” Lentz noted, gesturing toward a poster in her office.

Her family moved to Nevada where she lived “most of my life” before coming to Oregon.

She’s not eager to tell how long she’s been with the Post Office, but noted she has several years to go before retirement.

As a postal employee for more years than she wants to list, she’s seen the ups and downs her agency has experienced and she says one of the biggest challenges is staying positive.

“I guess the main thing that I feel that I bring to this particular office and to this community is a sense of respect both for the co-workers that I work for, that I oversee, also for the community,” she said. “I think that’s a very high standard that we all need to adhere to, to some extent.”

Lentz and Nickerson have moved into a house in Sweet Home.

“If I’m going to be the postmaster, I want to be part of the community. It’s really important to me to give 100 percent both to the community the best I can and to my job and to the employees I work for and I oversee. It’s an important job that I don’t take lightly. As postmasters we do take the same oath the president takes. I do try to adhere to a high standard.”

She and Nickerson enjoy gardening and she’s also a quilter. He is a semi-retired general contractor who enjoys woodworking. She said she hopes to get the Post Office involved in the Oregon Jamboree, particularly when the festival celebrates its 25th year.

Lentz said she’s eager to experience Sweet Home’s Farmer’s Market and said they might sell some of their produce there, depending on how their gardening efforts go.

“We just moved into a place, so it’s like starting over with our garden lives,” she said.

“I’m very happy to be here,” she said. “It’s fun. I like being far enough out of the big cities that I can go touch them all and go visit, but I do like the smaller city mentality, the hominess.

“I’ve worked hard to achieve a place in my career that I can actually sit and be home for a while, which is something I haven’t been able to do for many years.”