Mailman Continues Trucking After Over 50 Years | Life
After more than half a century of working with the U.S. Postal Service, Steve Gantt will tell you that there is not much that can stop him from completing his rounds quickly.
The only thing that kept him from delivering the mail was a bout with bladder cancer in 2013, and it was probably the worst year of his life.
“I almost went crazy,” says veteran postman High Point. “Retirement is definitely not for me. Sitting at home 24/7? No thanks.”
Which brings us back to 2021. Gantt was recently recognized for 55 years of government service – 51 years in the postal service, plus four years previously in the Air Force, working as a mechanic on C-130 planes. Today, even at age 75, the Kernersville resident says he hopes to stay with the Postal Service for many years to come.
“As long as I can physically do the job,” he says.
Gantt joined the High Point Post Office in 1969 after returning from Vietnam. A rural transporter he knew encouraged him to apply, so he took the postal exam, passed, and has been there ever since.
“I’m really glad I did, because it’s something I’ve always enjoyed,” says Gantt. “If I ever had to fill out a CV it would say Air Force and Mailman – that’s it.”
For the first 15 years or so, Gantt worked inside the post office, but in 1985 he found his true calling: delivering mail.
“This carrier didn’t like being outside in the weather, and she wanted to move indoors, so we did a mutual exchange,” Gantt recalls. “I love working outdoors and I don’t mind the weather. When I leave the office to deliver the route, I am alone there, instead of being locked in a building all day.
Well, he’s not completely alone there. Gantt has a long list of clients, on his current route and on previous routes, to whom he has delivered mail over the years. And they’re not just customers, they’re friends.
“I’m a human person, so I like to meet and talk to clients,” says Gantt. “Any postman will tell you that once you’ve been on a route long enough, you know the people, you know their kids, you know their pets, you know a lot about them,” Gantt says. “Someday you’ll see these kids running around, and the next thing you know is they’re coming home from college.”
Gantt also tries to befriend any pets on his way, though he admits he’s probably received nine or 10 dog bites over the years.
“We’re talking about a little nip or a snap,” he says. “I have never been physically assaulted by a dog. They are usually small house dogs – the owner opens the door to receive mail, and the dog runs out and grabs you by the leg.
There was one dog, however, who lived up to his reputation as a man’s best friend – er, postman -. Shortly after Gantt started his first walking route to the post office, a dog known as the Roadie started following him.
“He was at the post office to meet me every morning when I was leaving, he would follow me all day, then I guess go home,” Gantt recalls. “My route was probably seven or eight miles. If it was my day off and the person taking my route said they didn’t know the route, they’d say, “Just follow the dog.” “
One day, Gantt learned that Roadie had been picked up and taken to the county animal shelter, and that was more than the affable mailman could handle. He went and released the dog, then brought him home as his own pet.
Gantt’s colleagues have nothing but good things to say about him.
“Steve is a good worker and he always goes above and beyond the expectations of his clients,” says Susan Donovan, Customer Service Supervisor. “I never had any complaints about it.”
Gantt has also won several major awards for his work with the Postal Service – the Million Miles Award, for driving 1 million miles on the job without an accident, and the Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year Award, a national honor. given to only 10 drivers per year.
“You can’t work with a better guy,” says Caroline Jones, president of the High Point section of the National Association of Letter Carriers. “He’s just an exceptional guy and he loves his job. This man could have retired a long time ago, but he loves what he does. He was created to do this job that he does.