Frank Askins, one of the longest tenured employees with the U.S. Postal Service, retired Friday from his position at the Fayetteville Post Office after 52 years on the job.
Still, before joining his co-workers and guests for a breakfast held in his honor Friday morning, Askins was going about his usual duties at the local post office as if the day was almost just another day at the office.
“He’s schooled every one of us,” said Patricia Reynolds, postmaster, one of many at the post office who showered Askins with accolades his last day on the job. “We’re proud for you, but yes, we’re sad, too … We’re going to miss you.”
“I love this town,” he said, recalling his career that spanned six decades. “I didn’t even know what the post office was before I went into the army. My work here and the people here now, they’re all my postal family, have really been a blessing to me.”
Growing up in the Harms community, Askins went into the U.S. Army just after high school. Then, at the age of 22, fresh out of the army, he came home to Lincoln County and joined the Fayetteville Post Office. That was in 1966.
Pictures from those early years line the walls of Askins’ office, several of them depicting the various post office teams he also played on during many of those years. From baseball to basketball, he enjoyed staying fit and the comradery on the field as well as at work.
“He’s definitely the longest serving member of our staff here,” said one of his fellow employees. “At one time, he had the second greatest amount of sick leave built up of any USPS employee in the nation. There was a guy in upstate New York who had just a little more time than him.
“He loves meeting people, and I think he knew everyone in town,” he said, referring to Askins’ friendly disposition and outgoing nature. As custodian of the Fayetteville Post Office, he prided himself, too, on keeping the grounds and post office in tiptop condition.
As a matter of fact, in December of 1987, after 20 or so years on the job, he was honored by the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce with the presentation of its Ambassador Award for Outstanding Service. The chamber citied his friendly greetings and always warm smile as part of makes the community here so inviting.
Making their home in Howell now, he and his wife, Gladys, who works at Ralph Askins Elementary School in Fayetteville, have two daughters and one granddaughter.
“I’ve always enjoyed my work here,” he said, “but I’m looking forward to retirement … I think I’m going to spend a little time traveling here in Tennessee first, then I’m looking forward to going to Washington and watch my nephew play some ball there.”