72.1 F
Fort Smith
Monday, May 20, 2024

Mailman Goes Above and Beyond


Today, I was honored to help a man whom I call a friend. This friend has helped me countless times and rarely asks for help of any kind. He’s the person who is the first to help in any situation and then quietly disappear.

About 4:00 pm my phone rang and from the tone I knew it was my buddy, Richard Henson who has worked for the United States Postal Service for as long as I can remember.

I can still see him driving up in a late 70’s Ford Bronco to my Dad’s store in deep snow to make sure the mail was delivered, and delivered in a timely fashion.

“Hey, Jase my boy, got time to help a friend?” Henson asked in his quirky and kind demeanor. I simply replied, “You bet!” After a short exchange we agreed to meet in 15 minutes.

Patiently Waiting

I’ve waited to tell this story for quite awhile. It’s not something that comes easy as Henson doesn’t do selfies, could care less about pictures, and he’s extremely quiet in his work around his route in and around the area. In fact, he probably won’t like the fact that this story will be published and draw attention to him.

The pictures you see here took some precision not to be noticed and defend the spark of suspicion.

Richard Henson puts the finishing touch on a perfectly set mailbox.

An Overlooked Gesture

For some time now, Henson has repaired and set mailboxes for those who need the staple in rural areas, or to assist those who can no longer perform the duty.

It’s not easy work. In fact, it’s time consuming from the first coat of paint, to the final check of the level. Always finished with concrete, set to the appropriate depth, and roadside height measurements.

His shop is lined with remnants of battered and time tested mailboxes, endless parts, and posts that were at one time new, and carried the honor of holding family memories, and the dreaded bills we all must pay.

Number 12

The mailbox we set today, was number twelve. This number marks the second one I’ve assisted with over the past year. It’s done with honor, humility and I get to spend time with my buddy.

As we began setting #12, the property owner sat in the shade and offered no advice as he smiled with a sense of pride. When done, the job was finished with a handshake, a “thank you so much,” and a look of tearful joy.

God Bless you, Richard” the man declared as we approached the mailbox to ensure proper alignment to the street and the postal carriers vehicle. Henson waved goodbye, and stated “That was number 12, Jase.”

Henson (Left) gets help from Bruce Hainley preparing to set one of the many mailboxes he has done over the years. (Photo credit: Mallory Bordelon / 2017)

A Quiet Humility

Henson has set mailboxes for many people along his mail route and for some who just need the extension of help outside his coverage area.

I’ve never looked at a mailbox the same since the first one I help set with Henson. The humility and kind gesture he bestows is still strong in today’s society. His pride and workmanship gives me hope that their may be others who do the same, in different capacities that go unnoticed.

If you look close, and know what to look for, you’ll see the handy work of Richard Henson along the roads, standing proud and always level.

Thank you, Richard for calling me to help and for the help you’ve given to many people over the years. I’m sure the landscape has a better view with a proudly painted and level mailbox.

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