‘Chuck the Mailman’ retires
A large sheet cake with the words “Happy Retirement Chuck” in United States Postal Service blue, balloons and other festive touches in the rear of the Hammonton Post Office helped set the mood as fellow employees mark the retirement of Charles “Chuck” Foley after 33 years at the USPS. His entire career was spent serving the postal customers in Hammonton. The party was held on the morning of March 24.
“He will be missed. He brought a personality to the office. We’re seeing the old-school carriers go. We’re going to miss the old-school people because they always do what it takes to get the job done,” Hammonton Postmaster Jim McFadden said.
Foley was asked what made him stay at the post office for 33 years.
“It’s my work ethic. It was fun to be outside talking with people. Like Jim said, I’m old-school. I treated people like they were treating my salary. It was great seeing people grow up, then having kids and their kids having kids,” Foley said.
He said he enjoyed spending more than three decades being a part of Hammonton.
“That town treated me like I was family. People were always friendly. People who weren’t on my route were friendly, and I was friendly to them. Everyone around town I said hello to—you don’t see that as much today. Even on rough days I did it with a smile,” Foley said.
He recalled how postal customers like Mrs. Pino—the wife of former taxi operator Joseph Pino—would take care of him.
“Mrs. Pino had a chicken cutlet sandwich for me every week. Other people had meatballs I had to try,” Foley said.
Technology caused the largest change during his years as a mail carrier, he said.
“Back when I started, the mail was important. There was no computers, no phones. People waited for their mail. I always had a joke if they would say I was late. I would say, ‘No, I’m early for tomorrow,’” Foley recalled.
During the years, he would check on residents, especially senior citizens, “and make sure if they were OK” as he went along his route.
Foley remembered how the weather could be challenging.
“Delivering mail in the snow, knee deep, was tough but we got it done. In the summer, people would give you Gatorade, water and something cold to drink. Drank out of a hose at one woman’s house. The woman yelled at me because I didn’t knock on the door and ask for a glass of water. The next day she had a pitcher of ice water waiting for me,” Foley said.
He remembered the fun times with children on his route.
“I would throw the ball around with the kids when I was younger, kick the soccer ball around,” he said.
The Gazette asked what he would miss after 33 years on the job.
“I’m going to miss a lot of it. I’ll miss the people, the fellow employees. I wish I could stay another 30 years. Maybe if I come back as a ‘Letter Carrier Consultant.’ Is there such a thing?” Foley said.
Foley noted that he was leaving the post office right after a local landmark was refurbished.
“Thank god they fixed the clock before I retired,” Foley said, laughing.
As his interview ended, Foley noted one other distinction achieved during his long career in Hammonton.
“I’m the mailman with the most photos in The Gazette,” Foley said.