Heartland mail carrier retires after logging 1.2 million miles

Gorham mailman ends career accident free
Updated: Jul. 14, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - Tucked away in Jackson County, you’ll find the village of Gorham, Illinois.

At the center of any small community is the post office. That’s where for the past 40 years you would find James Arbeiter.

For decades, he has been the one to deliver mail day after day in every kind of weather.

“Yes, the rain and the snow,” said James Arbeiter.

And, the mail doesn’t take weekends off.

“I’ve worked every Saturday, literally for 40 years,” said Arbeiter.

That all came to an end as Arbeiter finished his last route.

That daily route consisted of 300 stops.

“The number, 40...why not, plus I’m tired of fixing my jeep,” said Arbeiter with a laugh.

Running a rural route, he had to use his own vehicles and maintain them.

He went through several in 40 years.

“I had five pickup trucks, and three Jeep Wranglers,” said Arbeiter.

Those trucks and Jeeps certainly racked up some miles, 1.2 million of them.

He did all of that, and never got into a crash.

“Being accident free is no accident, it takes concentration,” said Arbeiter.

That’s also while concentrating on his second job, farming.

“I don’t know which one’s the job and which one’s the hobby,” said Arbeiter.

He was a fifth generation farmer for 43 years, and he’s now retired from that job too.

So, what will he do now?

“I don’t know yet,” said Arbeiter.

As a creature of habit it’ll be hard to find a new routine, but he has some ideas.

“I have three daughters, and I never got to watch any of their games because I thought I was too busy,” said Arbeiter. “I just didn’t take the time. Now I’m going to take the time and watch my grandchildren play.”

His wife, Laura, said she’s probably happier about his retirement than he is.

“I’m just ready for him to be able to relax and move to the next chapter of his life,” said Laura Arbeiter.

For now, Arbeiter will focus on family and enjoy having a Saturday free for a change all while feeling blessed or 40 safe and healthy years on the road.

“I’m going to miss everything about it, everything,” said Arbeiter.

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