Beloved Post Office in Valentine, Texas, in Danger of Closing

Facility hand-postmarks, mails thousands of Valentine's greetings each year.

ByABC News
February 13, 2012, 12:03 PM

Feb. 14, 2012 — -- A beloved post office in Valentine, Texas, famous for its unique Valentine's Day postmarks, is on the list of endangered post offices that could soon be closed.

For decades, romantic-minded people have mailed their Valentine's greetings to the little post office with pre-addressed and stamped envelopes included so that they could be mailed to their sweethearts with a Valentine, Texas postmark.

Children from a local school help design a unique postmark for every year. This year's features hearts surrounded by a ribbon that say "Feb. 14, 2012," "Valentine TX" and "Love Sta. 79854," the station's ID number. It also depicts a sun rising over a hill.

Maria Carrasco, 58, has been working at the Valentine post office for nearly 25 years and has been the postmaster for 21 of those years. She loves the Valentine's Day tradition, which keeps her busy around the clock in the weeks leading up to Feb. 14.

"I love it. Valentine's to me does not mean the romance and the frills, it's spreading God's love because God is love and that's very special to me," Carrasco said.

She said her reaction to the news that the Valentine post office was closing was "pretty drastic," but said she could not talk any more about the post office's potentially closing.

The Valentine's greetings come from around the world and Carrasco expects to send out 18,000 hand-postmarked Valentine's this year. She postmarks most by herself, but sometimes has volunteers come in to help when the quantity becomes overwhelming.

"This is love. It's so meaningful," Carrasco said. "I know you can express the sentiment to anybody every single day, but it's just special to express it with a card and to go through the extra care to have it sent here to be postmarked."

She said she begins receiving the Valentine's greetings as early as December.

The U.S. Postal Service announced that in July it might close nearly 3,700 post offices in order to combat falling revenues. The Valentine post office is on the list, much to the chagrin of many supporters. Although the population of Valentine is only 217 people, the supporters come from around the world.

A Facebook page called "Save the Valentine, TX Post Office" has more than 400 supporters who have posted messages about wanting to save the beloved facility.

"Can't have Valentine's Day without Valentine, Texas!" one supporter wrote.

"I have sent Valentine's Day cards, postmarked from Valentine, Texas for nearly 20 years," another wrote. "PM Maria Carrasco is a dear lady and friend, with a great tradition in the little West Texas community."

McKinney Boyd, the post office spokesman in Dallas, said that not all hope is lost yet for Valentine.

"[Supporters] should attend community meetings in their towns and put their comments in writing and send them to their local districts. Those comments will be part of the overall record," Boyd said.

That overall record will be considered when postal headquarters works with each district to evaluate which offices will close.

No facilities will be closed until at least May 15, when a congressional moratorium on closing any post offices is lifted.

ABC News' Gina Sunseri contributed to this story.