“Rudy Tempesta, 85, the longest-serving mailman in the United States. For 65 years, first in New York City, and since 1959 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina he’s been delivering good news and bad, checks and bills, letters and magazines, catalogs and packages. For the past 20 years, his route has been a seven-mile stretch in the central part of Chapel Hill.”
full story Parade Magazine
In 2009, Rudy was honored for 60 years of safe driving.
At 83 years old, Rudy Tempesta is the oldest active letter carrier in North Carolina and one of the oldest in the country, and on Tuesday was recognized for a unique accomplishment very rarely given to octagenarians: no motor vehicle accidents in 60 years!
Tempesta was one of four Chapel Hill letter carriers honored by the Postal Service this week for excellence in safe driving. The Million Mile Club is the highest honor given by the National Safety Council, recognizing professional drivers in the workplace who have traveled at least 30 years without a preventable motor vehicle accident. However, this is the second time Tempesta has received this award, as he has been working for the company for 63 years – joining right after serving in World War II. Call it the “Two Million Mile Club.”
A Brooklyn native, former local union president, and father of five children ranging in ages 18 to 59, Tempesta had a decorated military career, flying 21 missions as a turret gunner in a B-24, often flying alongside the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He started his career in New York City and often delivered mail to the Empire State Building before moving south in 1958. He says he has delivered to most of Chapel Hill in his career and credits a simple technique for staying safe.
“Drive slowly and be careful and anticipate what you’re going to do,” he said. “And this is a college town, so don’t let the girls distract you. That’s how I do it.”
“It’s an unbelievable accomplishment and I’m extremely proud that Rudy works for us,” said Russ Gardner, District Manager, who attended the ceremony along with family, colleagues and customers on Tempesta’s route. Added OIC Margaret Fox, “We’re all part of his extended family, and feel lucky. He’s a wonderful asset to Chapel Hill Post Office.” source: USPS