In recent weeks, Zionsville’s postmaster has noticed something unusual. Mail is being directly addressed to him.
Paul Chaffee, 56, plans to retire July 31. As a show of appreciation, some Zionsville residents have begun sending him letters, cards and notes thanking him for his 12 years of service as the town’s postmaster.
“It’s interesting to be sitting here at my desk and have some mail sent directly to me, as the postmaster,” Chaffee said. “Somehow, people are hearing about it, and they are writing very nice messages about how much they enjoyed working with me or how much they enjoyed their carrier and how they feel it’s a reflection of the type of office that we run.”
After 37 years of working for the United States Postal Service, Chaffee became age-eligible for retirement July 20. He said July 31 was an ideal day to retire for both him and the USPS because of seasonal demands.
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” Chaffee said. “This feels like the real spot in the postal service. We are a 640,000-person organization, but we are about a 45- or 50-person organization here. One of those is big and unwieldy. The other is the local level. We should feel very responsible for being that touchpoint for what the U.S. Postal Service actually does.”
Prior to October 1, 2008, when Chaffee became postmaster, he was only vaguely aware of “how special the Zionsville community was.” He had dined at the Friendly Tavern and attended a few sporting events and marveled at the community’s ability to support a Bentley dealership in the middle of town.
But in the past 12 years, he said he has met remarkable people and community leaders and that he will miss the USPS. When he retires, Chaffee plans to continue his photography business and begin doing consultant work.