Woman breaks the cycle, becomes Rapid City's first female postma - KOTA Territory News

Woman breaks the cycle, becomes Rapid City's first female postmaster


Before the letter carriers went off on their morning routes Wednesday morning, they witnessed Rapid City history.

"There's no glass ceiling for anyone," said Lorrie Papka. She began her career with the Postal Service 30 years ago in North Dakota.

Three decades later, she is sworn in as Rapid City's first female Postmaster in it's 136-year history.

"I want females to be able to accomplish whatever they set their mind to, so that makes it an honor," said Papka, Postmaster USPS Rapid City.

But that's not an unfamiliar honor.

Papka worked in several Post Offices in both North and South Dakota before becoming Watertown's first female Postmaster in 2001.

"The post master is really responsible for everything. Whether it's something to do with the automation of the machines, or something to do with a carry out on a route or anything in between is what they manage," said Sonny Magnuson, Supervisor of Customer Services, USPS Rapid City.

After a year in Rapid City, with promotion in hand, she's set to embark on her dream career.

"This was my goal to come back to Rapid and the Black Hills area and to work for the post office here, so it's very exciting," said Papka.

"Lorrie's proven herself to be a really effective and good leader and so we're really excited about continuing under her guidance and seeing what the future is going to bring us here in Rapid," said Magnuson.

As Papka officially begins her duties as Postmaster, she realizes the USPS has some tough times ahead.

"We're definitely looking at a challenge because financially as everyone knows we are not doing so well and anytime a company has to pull out of that you have to make significant changes to get that accomplished and change is sometimes difficult. We're going to do it, but it's going to be a challenge," said Papka.

But she's up to the challenge and ready to start work in Rapid City.

 "I love this area. The people here are fun and extremely friendly and I feel like I'm coming home," said Papka.

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