Letter carrier Ozzie Williams began working for the United States Postal Service in 1987. Now, most residents on his route — which covers parts of State, Oakland, Arbor, Arch Street and Monroe Streets and Tappan Avenue and has never changed — were born after he began dropping letters in the mailbox of the residence they currently live in.
Ozzie has affectionately dubbed the territory he serves “The Land of Oz,” and he confidently struts its streets with mail in hand. It’s obvious he prides himself as the neighborhood patriarch.
He estimates that “The Land of Oz” consists of about 95 percent students. Passing them on the block, he never fails to greet them with his trademark: “Whatup, Whatup?”
While his enthusiasm and friendliness endear him to everyone he encounters, he’s no slouch when it comes to delivering the mail. He’s the poster boy for USPS policy. He unwaveringly reels of the motto “no name, no mail” when reiterating the Ann Arbor postal rules which prevent unlabeled mailboxes from receiving post.
On the route, he forges through all forms of inclement weather to ensure his precious cargo arrives in the hands of its intended recipients. Reciting a classic USPS adage (with some embellishments), he stresses his commitment to the mission: “Rain, hail, sleet, snow, tornado — we always do what we have to do to deliver the mail.”
Even more impressively, he always manages to make his wardrobe of standard-issue USPS gear stylish — even the head-to-toe raincoat or all-weather plastic helmet.
His neighborhood impact is best seen in his explanation of why dogs don’t attack him. As he casually puts it, “In the Land of Oz, dogs know me.”