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Published: Wednesday, 10/17/2007

Gift of stamps to queen brings clerk a royal reply in Perrysburg

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jim Fagerstrom holds his Jamestown Settlement stamps in his Perrysburg, Ohio home. Jim Fagerstrom holds his Jamestown Settlement stamps in his Perrysburg, Ohio home.
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A thoughtful deed from Perrysburg postal worker Jim Fagerstrom resulted in a royal thank you.

He received a thank-you note from one of Queen Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting after he sent the British monarch a framed two-sheet display of the Post Office's special edition Settlement of Jamestown commemorative stamp.

In the typewritten note on letterhead from Balmoral Castle, the royal family's Scottish estate, the lady-in-waiting (whose signature is illegible) writes:

"The Queen wishes me to write and thank you for the letter and present which you have sent to Her Majesty.

I am to thank you for these special edition commemorative stamps of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, which you have so kindly had mounted and framed and which will serve as a lasting reminder of the most enjoyable visit The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh made to the United States of America.

Although unable to reply to you personally, due to the enormous number of letters she receives every day, Her Majesty was pleased to hear from you and I must tell you that letters such as yours give The Queen much pleasure and encouragement.

Thank you once again for the thoughtful gift and for your good wishes which Her Majesty warmly appreciated."

Mr. Fagerstrom, who works at the window in the Perrysburg post office, said "I'm just as pleased as I can be."

The Jamestown Settlement was one of the first English settlements in North America. It was founded in the Virginia Colony on May 14, 1607, named for King James I of England.

The Queen's visit to Virginia in May was in observance of Jamestown's quadricentennial. On May 3, she addressed a joint session of the Virginia legislature, saying:

"Human progress rarely comes without a cost. And those early years in Jamestown, when three great civilizations came together for the first time, Western European, Native American, and African, released a train of events which continues to have a profound social impact, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom and Europe."

Mr. Fagerstrom, a history buff, said this part of the address made an impression on him.

When the post office issued the Jamestown stamps May 24, he thought of the Queen and decided to send her what became the framed display.

Along with the stamps, he sent a letter commending the Queen for "your wisdom in bringing to us the lessons of Jamestown."

He received what he thought was a speedy reply.

"It only took three weeks to hear from her. That's pretty fast," Mr. Fagerstrom said.

Mr. Fagerstrom, who has bachelor's and master's degrees from Bowling Green State University, is a longtime Perrysburg resident.

"I almost went into history. I really did, but I studied sociology instead," he explained.

Perrysburg's rich history is a reason he enjoys living in the city, he said.

"There is so much here," he explained.

But the Jamestown founding, as the Queen noted, was a truly signal event, in his view.

"The history of Jamestown continues, and I'm proud the United States Postal Service has something to do with it," Mr. Fagerstrom said.


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