By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
Few people can hold down a job like Randy Holley can hold down a job.
Thirty-five years and more than a million miles of travel after he began working for the U.S. Postal service, the Mt. Pleasant area native is still at it.
“I stuck with it,” he said, providing the understatement of the week.
Holley started working as a substitute carrier for the Fulton Post Office in 1977 while a student in college. Like many lifelong careers, Holley’s time as a postal employee was supposed to be a stopover to other things.
“I was planning to be a teacher,” he said. After several years of hauling letters and packages around Fulton, he transferred to the Tremont Post Office.
Somewhere along the way, that temporary position became a permanent one.
“I’ve been here ever since,” he said.
Last week, Holley celebrated his 35th anniversary as a mail carrier, if it can be called a celebration. He received a little gold pin that read “35,” a certificate of achievement and an earnest “good job” from his boss, Tremont Postmaster Richard Twilley, and then returned to work sorting letters. No fuss, no frills — the kind of celebration expected of someone who works hard at what he does.
“Here’s something most people don’t know,” said Postmaster Twilley, nodding toward the carrier. “Randy here drives around 125 miles every day.”
Even with all that time behind the wheel, Holley has yet to be involved in a single “at fault” accident. In fact, he was inducted into the postal service’s Million Mile Carrier club five years back — an honor presented to carriers who have driven one million miles without an “at fault” accident.
Just for reference, one million miles is approximately 42 trips around the earth itself. Since receiving this award, Holley has clocked another 220,000-odd miles.
Does he get sick of being in the car?
“Sometimes,” he said flatly.
But what he doesn’t get sick of is the people. In fact, working for and with the people of the Tremont area has kept him at the job for so long. Folks are nice, he said, and he’s gotten to know just about everyone on his route pretty darn well.
“One lady used to leave me brownies in her mailbox,” he said with a smile.
Another, he added, let him borrow his car to deliver mail when Holley’s vehicle broke down. It’s the kind of thing that makes him glad he never became a teacher and has him looking ahead at the next 35 years.
Retirement? Not any time soon.
“I’m just waiting to see what happens next,” Holley said.
Likely, he wouldn’t know what to do with all that free time, anyway. His car, on the other hand, is probably ready to start collecting its pension.