You might say John Moore is a lone wolf these days.
Moore is the last USPS rural carrier on a “mileage route.” This means his salary is based on the number of miles he drives — an amount that doesn’t change from paycheck to paycheck.
Some other carriers are also paid by the mile, but their salaries can be affected by other factors.
“If they lose time, they lose money. If they gain time, they gain money,” Moore said. “In my case, whether I lose hours or gain hours, I’m still going to be paid the same amount.”
Mileage routes used to be more common, but they’ve gradually been phased out over the years.
Moore, who is based at the Martinton, IL, Post Office, is fine being the last of his kind. He just marked his 55th year on the job, although he’s been delivering mail for as long as he can remember.
In 1921, Moore’s father, Harold, began delivering mail in nearby Buckley, before transferring to Askum to replace a rural carrier who died.
Moore, who was born in 1942, occasionally rode along with his dad, beginning when he was a toddler. He became his father’s substitute driver in 1963.
“The first time I carried mail in 1963, I had a net paycheck of $21 and I think almost $5 of that was for mileage,” Moore said.
When his dad died in 1967, Moore took over his route in Askum. Today, it covers 97 miles and 256 mailboxes in Martinton, a village of roughly 350 residents in central Illinois.
Moore is beloved by customers and co-workers alike.
“Working with John has been an inspiration to my own postal career,” said St. Anne, IL, Postmaster Julie Clay, who oversees the Martinton Post Office. “John always takes his job very seriously while making lifelong friends on his route. He is happy, courteous and above all precise in carrying out his postal duties.”
Moore said he could have retired 20 years ago, when he turned 55. “But I really enjoy the people I work with and the customers,” he said.
Moore and his wife of 55 years, Judy, have two children. He has no plans to retire, although he notes the Chevrolet Lumina he uses to deliver mail has 271,000 miles on it.
“I hope it doesn’t retire before I do,” he said with a laugh.