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  • Fairbury News staff

Mail carrier retires

Retiring mail carrier Dave Thomas poses by his vehicle during a mail stop in October.

Dave Thomas was asked by former postmaster John Reis to be a substitute rural carrier back in 1985 and said yes. The rest, as they say, is history.

The longtime Fairbury mail man officially retired Nov. 30 after many enjoyable years on the job, which he started full-time in 1994. Thomas carried mail for Fairbury’s Route 2 for a number of years before switching over to Route 1. Route 2 is north of town while Route 1 is south with U.S. Route 24 serving as the dividing line.

“Once you are in the rural carrier field, you usually stay in that,” Thomas explained.

Three separate entities within the post office include clerks, carriers and rural carriers – and Thomas is glad he chose the latter. He left farming in 1998 but always felt close to agriculture thanks to his daily mail route.

“The best times in the world for me were watching the planting and harvest,” Thomas recalled. “If I couldn’t be a farmer, that’s about as close as I could get to it.”

Knowing so many farmers in the area, cruising through his mail route made Thomas feel like he was out among them each spring and fall. He considers customers on both of his routes through the years “good people.”

“They were always friendly and I just enjoyed serving them.”

What would a mail career be without a few dog experiences over the years? Thomas did make several dog friends who were mostly pleasant to be around, aside from the five times he was bit during his career.

As for retirement, Thomas looks forward to spending time with grandkids, house work and painting. In fact, he plans to just enjoy the new lifestyle for a while.

“I’m not used to this,” said Thomas. “I’m used to doing something all of the time.”

Thomas has enjoyed the individuals he has worked with both past and present, saying he retired under a great postmaster.

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