Thursday, September 27, 2012
When Rufus “Peanut” Faircloth began carrying mail in 1967, Chattanooga State Technical Institute (now Chattanooga State Community College) was a brand new school, the city had two newspapers and there was no such thing as a gang problem.
After 45 years of employment as a mail carrier and five years of military service with the U.S. Air Force, Faircloth was recently honored for 50 years of combined employment.
“I’m just speechless right now,” he said during a special presentation in his honor. “I’m tongue-tied. I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I’ve just enjoyed working with you all over the years.”
Although he said his wife is pushing him to retire, Faircloth said he’d still like to work a few more years as a carrier.
“I like being outside and in the open air and being out on my own,” he said. “I can retire at any time, but I have no plans to do so.”
His fondest memory over the years was assisting in the arrest of a burglar in Red Bank while delivering mail at an apartment complex in that area. He said he recalls shots being fired, prompting sheriff’s deputies to race over the bridge to get there in time. The criminal was caught in the end and Faircloth was partially responsible for that arrest.
He said one of the best things about his jobs has always been the people he served.
“People have always been so nice and friendly,” he said. “I’ve never run into a problem over the years. People have always treated me cordial.”
As more of the Postal Service’s processes become automated over the years, Faircloth said he especially appreciates the people who work for the Postal Service and their dedication to the job.
“People see us driving around in vehicles and they think ‘Hey, I can do that,’ but it’s not as easy as it looks,” he said.
With decades of experience, Faircloth knows firsthand how hard it can be to deliver and pick up hundreds of pieces of mail each day, but it’s a job he isn’t yet ready to give up.