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ONLY ON 3: Community rallies to save its post office

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MAPLE HILL, NC (WWAY) -- With the threat of closure looming over their post office, the Pender County community of Maple Hill has rallied around the building at the center of town. But would it be too late?

They say it's the brick and mortar that holds their life together.

"It's the life of Maple Hill," Annie Bess Knight said. "Everybody depends on it. Going, coming, eating, whatnot, we depend on this post office, and we appreciate it being here."

But citizens recently got an unexpected letter that left them wondering why the US Postal Service was looking into closing a vital artery of their community.

"The initial announcement regarding closing some of the post offices was certainly a necessary response to the Postal Service's financial condition," USPS spokeswoman Monica Robbs said. "We are facing severe deficits. The Postal Service ended the year with a $15 billion deficit."

Faced with such a large budget deficit the Postal Service was forced to look at the hours of some of its rural offices, like the one in Maple Hill, leaving many customers wondering if the heart and soul of the community would be taken away.

"The post office is a rallying point, and the post office is one of the things that we have that we consider to be great here in this community," resident Cindi Moore said.

In front of a crowd of residents who had gathered in support of the building, a postmaster announced that the building would be saved, but would have new hours.

Members of the community plan to capitalize on their second chance.

"We will be frequenting it more to give the post office its service and the business that it needs to remain open," Moore said.

The new six-hour work days will go into effect immediately at the Maple Hill post office.

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