Longtime letter carrier makes final deliveries

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2007

COURTLAND—One Courtland resident will ring in the New Year knowing she will have more of an opportunity to relax in the years to come.

After more than 31 years of delivering the mail even through driving rain, sleet and snow, Elizabeth &uot;Betty&uot; Jones will officially retire from the Courtland Post Office Jan. 1.

Jones, 70, started out substituting in 1975 for a mail carrier named Stuart Jenkins, who has since passed away.

&uot;In those days, you could ask someone else to substitute for you,&uot; she said. &uot;You just had to take the civil service exam.&uot;

Jones also substituted for Harold McGrath before taking over Jenkins’ route in 1983.

Over the years, she has worked for three postmasters and has seen an increase in the amount of mail that goes out to her customers.

&uot;The volume of the packages has increased over the years,&uot; she said. &uot;People get a lot of magazines and catalogs.&uot;

The number of money orders Jones used to assist customers with has decreased as well.

&uot;You used to have to fill out a form,&uot; she said. &uot;I would help customers fill it out. Sometimes if they didn’t have a stamp, I’d put one on it for them.

&uot;I used to have about 15 a day when H.P. Beale (Beale’s Packing) was in business. Now it’s more like four or five a month.&uot;

Jones has been a member of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association for more than 25 years, and has been a leader in Quality Work Life, a committee within the postal service that meets to identify and resolve issues regarding work and the community.

&uot;She is an exemplary employee,&uot; said Courtland Postmaster Terri Brooks. &uot;She is a special, one-of-a-kind person who takes care of her customers.

&uot;She hasn’t missed a day of work in the five years I’ve been here.&uot;

Jones and her husband, David L. Jones Jr., were responsible for hauling and storing mail with their personal vehicles during the flooding in Franklin in 2006. Her daughter, Jenny Jones Banty was supervisor at the Franklin Post Office at the time.

&uot;We stored the mail under our carport and covered it with tarps and plastic,&uot; Betty said.

Noted for her perfect driving record, Jones said it was difficult sometimes to get through the ice, snow and heavy rain.

&uot;If it weren’t for my husband keeping the cars running, I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did,&uot; she said. &uot;I kept two station wagons, and I even had three at one time.

&uot;And one day, I used all three of them. The alternators went out in two of them on the same day.&uot;

Jones was presented a service award for her years of dedication from Jacob L. Cheeks of the United States Postal Service and had two parties in her honor this month.

Rhonda Harrup, who has been substitute for Jones, will take over the route.

Although the mail carrier said that she will miss her customers, she is looking forward to visiting relatives who all live in different parts of the country.

&uot;I refinish furniture, and have a couple of pieces I want to finish,&uot; she said.