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Disabled Vt. veteran prevails in fight for home mail delivery

Robert Rhein checked his newly erected mailbox at his home in Lyndonville, Vt., yesterday. He had relied on his daughter to bring him his mail. A group of disability advocates helped Rhein. Robert Rhein checked his newly erected mailbox at his home in Lyndonville, Vt., yesterday. He had relied on his daughter to bring him his mail. A group of disability advocates helped Rhein. (Amy Ash Nixon/ Caledonian Record via Associated Press)
Associated Press / January 29, 2011

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LYNDONVILLE, Vt. — An 89-year-old disabled World War II veteran who couldn’t get mail delivered to his home because the Postal Service said his narrow street was too tricky for vehicles to navigate finally has a mailbox.

A group of disability advocates helped Robert Rhein overcome obstacles that kept him from having the mailbox closer to his home and find someone to install it for him.

After hearing of Rhein’s troubles getting his mail, Tina Wood of Disability Rights Vermont worked with the office of Senator Bernie Sanders to ask the Postal Service to make a reasonable accommodation for Rhein under the Rehabilitation Act.

The first request was denied, but Rhein appealed. The request was granted this week and the mailbox installed yesterday.

Since August, Rhein has relied on his daughter to pick up his mail. Now he says “miracles do happen.’’