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Neither Floods, Nor Mold, Nor Flying Insulation Can Stop This Houston Mail Carrier

Stella M. Chavez
Mail carrier Fateyva Miles of the U.S. Postal Service makes her rounds in the Scarsdale area of Houston. She's wearing a mask because so much insulation is flying as homeowners rehab their flooded houses.

Fateyva Miles has been a mail carrier in the Houston area for three years. She moved there from Michigan.

“I kinda don’t like the flooding, but I love Houston,” she said.

Miles worked the Labor Day holiday Monday because no mail had been delivered for four days in her Scarsdale delivery area, southeast of downtown Houston. Now, carriers are trying to catch up.

“I think my route is the most affected out of the entire station," she says. "They kind of feel bad for me. But seeing these people makes me appreciate… You know, I didn’t get affected. And this is bad. This is really bad."

Miles walked her delivery route wearing a face mask to protect her from the mold and fiberglass insulation particles in the air because of the flooding and subsequent home demolition. As she headed down the street, doors stood open as homeowners tried to air things out.

“When I’m walking, I’m in between them throwing [the insulation] out, so that stuff flies back at me. I go home with stuff in my hair, and I have to wash it every day. So that’s not fun!”

Though she’s doing the same job and the same route post-Harvey, she has to watch her step.

“But I’ve gotta do it,” Miles said.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.