When Bill Vance heard the Postal Service needed a substitute rural carrier in Gowanda, NY, he applied for the job. Soon, he was delivering mail.
That was 45 years ago. Vance has been working part-time for USPS ever since.
“I never expected it would last this long, but I said, ‘What the heck?’ This is an interesting place and it gives me a chance to see and talk to other folks,” he said.
Always neatly dressed in a flat cap, ironed shirt and slacks, Vance and his trusty red jeep are a familiar sight in Gowanda, a small community of about 2,700 residents in Eastern Area’s Western New York District.
“He is very well known and liked here in town. You see that old jeep coming down the road and you know Bill is on the way. He is very dependable, always smiling, and he really takes care of his customers,” said Postmaster Don Veloski.
Vance has never wanted to make USPS a full-time career. He also works on his family’s dairy farm, which he has always considered his main job.
He remains dedicated to the Postal Service, though, and marvels at the changes he has seen over the years, including the arrival of scanners and delivery point sequence mail.
However, one thing hasn’t changed: The Gowanda Post Office still feels like home.
Said Vance: “Everybody is so cheerful. It makes it nice to be here. I’ve never had a bad boss or co-worker.”