It was a moment 50 years in the making.
Friends and co-workers recently gathered at the Hartford, CT, Processing and Distribution Center to celebrate Gene Herrington’s golden anniversary as a federal employee.
Herrington served in the Air Force from 1967-1971, then began his postal career — just days after the Post Office Department became USPS.
The mail processing clerk has worked tour 1, the overnight shift, for most of his career. The workflow has a rhythm.
“I know when we’ll have busy days and I know when we’ll have slow days,” he said.
Herrington — who’s a big fan of the Boston Celtics, Washington Redskins and New York Yankees — is considered one of the plant’s MVPs.
He encourages teamwork among his co-workers.
“I make sure my co-workers all have the proper equipment. I tell them what time I need the mail, they get it ready and we get it out. If you make things easier for your co-workers, they will produce for you,” he said.
Colleagues enjoy hearing stories from his Air Force days, including his service in Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines.
“It was tough over there. It really made you appreciate how good we have it here,” he said.
For Herrington, the Postal Service has become a family affair.
His wife Barbara, with whom he has two children, retired from USPS in 2003. His brother Tony worked for the Postal Service as an auto clerk.
Herrington said he’s thinking about retiring, possibly in a year or two, and hopes to do more volunteer work.
“I’m very involved with the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I’d like to spend more time helping them,” he said.