New BW postmaster feels right at home

New Blythewood postmaster Cedric Jackson with Shakwanda Harris, long-time Blythewood Customer Service Supervisor. | Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – When Northeast Columbia resident Cedric Jackson walked in the door of the Blythewood post office as the new postmaster in January, he said it was like coming home. 

“I go way back in Blythewood. It’s where my mom grew up. She was a Walker,” Jackson said. “After she got married and moved to Columbia, she always brought us kids back out here to church at Round Top Baptist every Sunday. That was her home church. So we grew up knowing a lot of folks out here. My mom, two of my brothers and my aunt are buried in the Round Top Church cemetery.”

And long before Jackson went to work for the postal service, he was already familiarizing himself with the 29016 rural roads he now serves.

“Every Sunday, when we left church my mom would let me drive home. I took Rimer Pond Road to Highway 21 and turned left onto Farrow Road. So I guess you could say I knew some of the Blythewood routes at an early age,” he said with a smile.

Jackson said it’s not unusual these days for someone to walk in to the post office, strike up a conversation with him and exclaim, “So, you’re Mrs. Jackson’s boy?”

“That’s a great feeling for me to be known by the people who I serve here,” Jackson said.

Jackson has been with the postal service 27 years, the last three as the postmaster in Ridgeway, before being assigned to Blythewood. He also spent several years at the Sandhills Branch.

Jackson says Blythewood is a dream job.

“We have a good crew out here” Jackson said. “Shakwanda [Harris, the branch’s customer service supervisor] has it running pretty smoothly. “

Jackson oversees about 25 fulltime and substitute carriers who deliver mail to 15 routes.

“We have about 10,500 route customers in 29016 plus about 800 post office boxes in the building, and we only have 95 left,” Jackson said. “Blythewood is growing. I’ve seen a lot of change since I used to go to church out here with my mom.”

To that end, Jackson plans to bring some upgrades to the branch.

“I’m evaluating things now to see what kind of changes are needed. I’d like to offer passport services at this post office,” Jackson said. “We’ll have to see if it gets approved. One problem would be that Blythewood post office is not far from the Sandhills branch which already offers passport service. The postal service doesn’t like to duplicate nearby services. And we’re looking to update other services as well.”

Jackson said it’s a minimum of five years before he can retire and he’d like to spend that time getting some things upgraded for Blythewood’s mail service.

“I’m not planning on going anywhere else,” Jackson said. “I’d like to finish out my career here in Blythewood. I’d been wanting to come here for a while, but Richard [Jones, former Blythewood post master] just wouldn’t leave,” Jackson added with a good natured laugh.

“My plan is to stay here and grow with the town,” he said.