Beyer bill to honor beloved mail carrier passes House

Signs outside the post office on N. George Mason Drive in August 2020 (staff photo)

The post office on N. George Mason Drive would be renamed in honor of a late local postal worker under a bill that just passed the House of Representatives.

The House on Monday unanimously passed Rep. Don Beyer’s bill, H.R. 7082, to honor local letter carrier Jesus Collazos by renaming the North Arlington Post Office at 2200 N. George Mason Drive in his memory. Collazos, who emigrated from Colombia in 1978 and served 25 years as a USPS postal carrier in Arlington, lost his life to COVID-19 early in the pandemic.

The Senate will now need to approve the legislation before it can be signed into law.

From our reporting on the renaming proposal last year:

On Nextdoor, residents remember Collazos for the way he went the extra mile to help elderly residents and always knew someone who could help with a home improvement project. They also were overwhelmingly supportive of the renaming.

“Jesus Collazos was a neighbor,” said one resident of the Leeway Overlee neighborhood. “We called him the ‘Mayor of 24th Street.’ Sorely missed and it would be such a great tribute to his contributions to our community to name a post office in honor of him.”

A Tara-Leeway Heights resident recalled how Collazos helped her mother later in life. He came up to the door, knocked and opened it, announcing himself and putting the mail on the TV stand.

“My mom thought so highly of him,” she said. “He just did stuff like that. He was a person who really ‘saw’ those around him.”

Another poster from Tara-Leeway Heights said Collazos was well-connected in Arlington.

“If we needed the name of someone to help with anything having to do with the house, he knew someone,” the poster said. “He made us all feel like we were his friends. We miss him terribly. He made such a positive impact on everyone he met.”

Beyer delivered the following remarks from the House floor, the Congressman’s office said, as Collazos’ family looked on from the House Gallery.

Madame Speaker, I rise today to speak in support my bill, H.R. 7082, which would designate the post office on 2200 North George Mason Drive in Arlington as the Jesus Antonio Collazos Post Office Building.

Jesus was the epitome of the American Dream.

He was born in 1953 in Colombia and grew up in a modest, hard-working family.

Even at a young age, he was passionate about education and wanted to help his community and did so by helping teach literacy while still a high school student.

After graduating high school, Jesus attended the Universidad de San Buenaventura Cali to pursue a degree in accounting.

In 1978, Jesus immigrated to Washington, D.C. to reunite with his mother and sisters in hopes of seeking a better future.

In 1980, Jesus married the love of his life, Luz Miriam, who is here today with their children, Vanessa and Michael.

After working in accounting positions at various hotels, he applied to the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier, where he would embark on a 25-year career.

He made an impression early on and was given a temporary assignment in leadership which turned into a permanent offer.

He ultimately turned it down to remain a mail carrier.

This turned out to be the right decision as Jesus preferred to spend his days outdoors, building relationships on his route, and connecting with the neighborhood.

He fell in love with that neighborhood so much that he waited patiently for the right opportunity to buy his own family home there.

When the day came, his affable personality gave him an advantage over other buyers. So much so, that the seller accepted his offer despite it being the lowest of all the bids.

In 1999, Jesus and Luz moved their family from an apartment into a new single-family home on his mail route, becoming his own mailman.

Motivated by a desire to spend more time with his family and in particular his grandchildren, Jesus retired in February 2019.

At the start of the pandemic, Jesus discovered a lump on the side of his neck that turned out to be an aggressive cancer.

In Monday May of 2020, during his first oncology appointment, he was sent to the emergency room for COVID.

He spent the next two weeks in the ICU, suffered a stroke, and on June 6th at 3:45pm, took his last breath.

Jesus was one of millions of Americans taken from us by COVID-19, but he was also a treasure to our local community.

He will be remembered by his infectious personality, outstanding work ethic and loyalty to his loved ones.

After his death, the Collazos family immediately began to receive an outpouring of love via messages, calls, cards, and meals from countless family members and friends.

An outdoor memorial service for Jesus was held June 26, 2020 where many came together to honor his memory.

His U.S. Postal Service coworkers opened his outdoor memorial service with a mail truck parade.

We were lucky to have Jesus Collazos in our community.

May his life be a reminder of the positive impact immigrants and new Americans have on this country.

Please join me, the Collazos family, and the Arlington community in honoring Jesus’ memory by voting yes.

Thank you, I yield back the balance of my time.