Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


With postmaster hire, mail office fully staffed


Genevieve Bell

Genevieve Bell started work on Monday as Haines’ new postmaster.

Bell, 35, transferred here from Glennallen, where she was postmaster for two years. She also recently served as acting postmaster in Ketchikan and worked here two weeks in July.

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Bell said she and husband Patrick Bell moved steadily west and fell in love with Haines during a visit here 12 years ago. “Haines was the community I had been wanting to live in. It’s the most beautiful place I’d ever been.”

Bell said working for the postal service allows her to “work with and for a community.”

Her hire brings the office back up to full staffing, she said. Including her position, the office has four employees, counting one part-time worker.

Bell said she’s not planning any major changes to the local operation. “We’ll just be trying to provide good, fast customer service.”

She also wanted to reassure the community that although the postal service might be cutting hours and locations elsewhere in Alaska, Haines won’t be affected. “There will not be any closing or reducing of hours.”

Bell described her husband as the “typical Alaska man.” “He fishes, does construction and takes care of the kids.” The couple has two children: Camelia, 6, and Calvin, 3.

“When we went to ‘White Fang’ night (at the Chilkat Center Saturday), after the movie, Camelia said to me, ‘Mom, I’m so excited about being in Haines.’”

Post office employees worked very hard this summer when the office was understaffed, Bell said. “It takes a while to fill positions.”

A hiker, Bell made a solo trek of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada 10 years ago.

“In hiking or skiing, or in personal life, I’m just thinking ‘I made it this far, I might as well keep going,’” Bell said. That attitude allowed her to finally reach Haines, she said.