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Local mail carrier retires after 40 years

December 09, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

After more than 40 years delivering mail to the same midtown locations, El Centro native Manuel Jimenez's last day was Saturday

"I've been here all that time," he said.

Jimenez began work for the U.S. Postal Service in July of 1956. Shortly thereafter he was drafted into the Army and returned to delivering mail in 1959.

"Since I was little, I wanted to be a mailman," Jimenez said. "It's a rewarding job, but some times it is hectic."

Jimenez, 67, has made many friends on his route and some were surprised to hear of his imminent retirement.

Grace Garcia, an accounting clerk in the county Tax Collector's Office, said she has known Jimenez for a long time.

"He's a wonderful person," she said. "He's so sweet. He's always in a good mood, never in a bad mood and always very happy."

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Jimenez didn't get away without giving farewell hugs to people in the County Administration Center even though he only goes in to deliver certified mail.

On the street young women passed and said, "Hello, Mr. Jimenez," as he prepped the mail in his truck.

Maxine Hatch, an office assistant 3 in the county Recorder's Office, said she has known Jimenez for 20 years.

"I miss him when he's not around," she said. "I think he's super, I really do."

Meanwhile, Jimenez stops to chat with a former colleague, Santos Verdugo, who by the time you read this, will be a former office assistant in the county Elections Office. Verdugo was a mail carrier in Brawley for 20 years before retiring. He will move on to work at the new Brawley Beef plant on Monday.

Jimenez described his area as the business route on Main and State streets, and residential areas on Olive and Brighton avenues. He makes about 300 deliveries daily.

Jimenez said he is unsure what he will do with his free time after retirement.

"I'm going to have to try to find something to do," he said.

Jimenez said his wife retired in June after working as an instructional aide with the El Centro school district for 18 years.

Jimenez also has two grown sons, one in San Diego and one in Burbank.

>>Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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