Postal worker retires after 36 years of delivering to Ashburn

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Postal carrier Johnny Ellison geared for the last time up to deliver mail to the people on his route Monday.

Ellison has logged a lot of miles over the 36 years he's served the Ashburn neighborhood, not letting rain, sleet, snow or guard dog keep him from doing his job.

As far as the residents are concerned, he is the best at what he does.

"I just want to say, I thank you for your service. I love you," said one Ashburn neighbor.

The neighborhood came out to show appreciation For Ellison on his last day on the job.

Ellison is retiring, which is bittersweet for residents who say he went above and beyond his duties as a mail carrier.

"He knows everyone and every house. He makes sure everyone gets their packages. Selfishly, I don't want him to leave," said 18th Ward Alderman Derrick Curtis.

"He's not a mail carrier. He's family," said Yolanda Dinkins, an Ashbury resident.

Ellison said he worked hard to become someone the neighborhood could rely on.

"They know that if they don't see me, they might not get any mail," Ellison said.

The 70-year old Ellison credits walking 23 blocks everyday with keeping fit.

He said he'll find something else to do now to stay active.

He offered this advice for up and coming mail carriers, "When I first came, they didn't ever tell you to stop and warm up. You have to stop and warm up. Especially in the wintertime."

Residents said they have high hopes for their next mail carrier, but whoever gets their route will have their support.

"I just want them to know that it's tough shoes to fill. But we're gonna welcome he or she as we always do. We respect our carriers, we appreciate them," Dinkins said.

After lots of hugs and well wishes Ellison had to go, but plans on staying in touch with everyone he's gotten to know over the years.
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