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    Deron Bell | Music Makes The World Go Round

    Deron Bell: Music Makes The World Go Round

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Gabriel Macdonald | Postal clerks load newly received packages to be processed for tomorrow's mail...... read more read more

    P LEMONNIER, DJIBOUTI (Feb. 12, 2020) – At 1430 each day, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen flock to the base post office to begin collecting packages and letters. As they enter the building, they are welcomed by the sound of music reverberating throughout the wide mail dispensary, played by via a JBL Bluetooth speaker.

    “On the day to day I play a variety of music for everybody, from pop, to country, to rock or R&B,” says Deron Bell, the COPE (Custodian of Postal Effects) at the Camp Lemonnier post office, works every day 24/7 to distribute mail to the camp’s roughly 7,000 occupants, always with music playing in the background at mail pick up time. “People are ecstatic to come pick up mail,” Deron says with enthusiasm.

    Deron says when he first arrived on base, service members that came to pick up their mail would be quiet and reserved. Deron went out and brought a speaker, and once he began to play music, “people started taking to the music.” Deron described the positive reaction to the music as a “domino effect.” “One person made a comment, and then the next person made a comment. My music is very soothing to the soul.”

    Deron currently wears two hats at the post office. Not only is he the COPE, but he also performs as a registered mail clerk since the previous one recently left. He is accountable for all registered mail coming in and out of the post office, and balances handling the front counter and managing all counter clerks as the COPE.

    Being the registered mail clerk also means Deron is on call 24/7. This comes on top of managing both the front and back offices of the building. “My days are actually stressful. Twenty-four hours. Seven days a week.” In spite of all of this, Deron maintains that he loves his job. “It keeps me on my toes. Makes the days go by quicker.”

    Deron has been stationed at Camp Lemonnier for over a year, and he does get R&R time. But once he returns from each break, he always notices the vibe is different. “I went on R&R, and came back, everybody said the place was dull without my music.” When Deron first began to play music during mail pick up hours, he didn’t realize how much of an effect it would have on people.

    “People have actually said to me that this is their relief. Their stress relief.” Deron cycles through 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s to cater to all generations. “It brings back memories, and once you start bringing back memories, it makes it better for everybody.” Lots of people coming and going to pick up mail know Daren by his first name, but they also gave him a nickname. “Most people when they see me they say, ‘Hey it’s the Music Man,’” he says with a chuckle.

    Daren takes requests from visitors. “People say I wanna hear the 80s. I wanna hear the 90s, so I give them what they want.” Daren has a stressful job, balancing two positions. And he’s frequently visited by stressed-out service members looking to get out of the office and pick up mail. But as long as Daren is working at the post office, you can count on him to play music that relaxes, brings back memories, and soothes the soul.



    Date Taken: 02.12.2020
    Date Posted: 02.19.2020 08:50
    Story ID: 363385
    Location: CAMP LEMONNIER, DJ 

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