Mail carrier honored for 63 year service

CHAPEL HILL It was 1946 when Rudy Tempesta got out of the military and World War II and started carrying mail for the U.S. Post Office.

"I was driving a tin Lizzy. It's like a station wagon but it had wood all around and I got to work in the post office in the Empire State Building which was great to me," Tempesta said.

At 83, Tempesta has been awarded the Million Mile Club twice, meaning he's gone more than 30 years without and accident.

"I've gotten one 32 years ago and now I got this 2 million mile one and it's good to know you got to drive safe," Tempesta said. "It's like I said before, this is a college town, don't let the girls distract you."

It's been 63 years that he has had a clean driving record behind the wheel of his postal truck. But another accomplishment is he's the oldest active mail carrier in North Carolina and one of the oldest in the country.

"I'm going for the world, the Guinness World, what do you call it?" he asked.

"He always makes friends, always talking them up," Tempesta's son Nick said.

"I was about 6-years-old," resident Julia Daugherty said. "So I decided to write him a letter and tell him you know everybody's worried about what happened with 9/11, but who's worrying about the mailman who has to carry the anthrax."

Tempesta says he doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon. He says he's got another 63 years in him, as long as his legs will carry him along his mail route.

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