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Honoring 50 Years of Service

50 years is a long time to work for one organization. John Powell may start thinking about retirement now that he has passed the 50 year service mark.

It’s a mile marker not too many of us pass in our federal careers — 50 years of service. But John Powell — an expeditor at the Evansville, IN, mail processing and distribution center — did just that.

Powell, 72, says when he began his career with the Postal Service he made $2 an hour, “and I was happy. That was a nice paying job.”

He worked in his hometown of Bicknell, IN, as a part-time clerk carrier before transferring in 1973 to Evansville.

“Back then, we didn’t have automation. We worked all of the letters and flats by hand,” Powell said. “Today, a machine can run thousands of pieces per hour and now they’ve sequencing flats for carriers.

“We had what we called the Highway Post Office,” he explained. “A big bus would come down from Indianapolis to Evansville and make pickups from different offices.

Then they’d turn around and head back to Indianapolis. It was similar to trains and they had it set up to where they could work the mail as they picked it up from each office,” he said.

“My co-workers ask me how long I’ve worked at the Post Office. I tell them that I was the last of the Pony Express riders and that I even had my horse stuffed,” he said with a laugh.

“I’ve stayed around because I enjoy the work, and I’m in good health,” he said. “Everybody has been asking me when I’m going to retire and I say when I reach 50 years, I’ll start thinking about it.”

Perhaps as his anniversary date came and went, he’ll start saying when he reaches 55 years he’ll start thinking about it. “The Postal Service has been a good company to me,” he said.

About the Author

Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the BostonGlobe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines.

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