LEETONIA- A long-time postal worker in the area has retired from service.
Doug Jones, 56, of Leetonia retired after nearly 40 years from the United States Postal Service at the end of July. Most recently the postmaster in Massillon, he had served in the same capacity in Leetonia, East Liverpool and Salem.
Starting as a letter carrier in Leetonia in August 1974 after graduating from Leetonia High School, Jones earned promotion to postmaster at the office by the age of 26.
"I just kept progressing from there," he said. "I like challenges."
He served as Leetonia's postmaster for seven years before moving to East Liverpool for eight and Salem for 10 before finishing at Massillon.
Much has changed at the post office during his career, according to Jones. He said he remembers when first-class mail accounted for 70 percent of the post office's letter volume. Now, bulk, or junk mail, makes up roughly 70 percent of the total volume.
He also noted how Massillon is one of only two local post offices that still operates customer service bar code sorters. The machines are capable of sorting up to 40,000 pieces of mail an hour by individual routes, but many of them have been removed from post offices because of dropping mail volume.
When he first joined the post office, Jones said, all of the sorting was completed by hand.
With almost a month of retirement under his belt, Jones said he has missed the interaction with co-workers and customers the most.
"In the post office, the phone's always ringing, people are always stopping in," he said. "At Massillon there were 85 workers. I enjoyed seeing everyone."
Jones said he has no immediate plans for retirement but would like to travel some. He currently serves on the Leetonia school board.
Kevin Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org