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Pa. man delivers

January 26, 1999

Charlie SnodderlyBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Charlie Snodderly figures that in the quarter of a century that he delivered mail in Waynesboro's north end he walked 30,000 miles and wore out 25 pairs of shoes and six coats.

Snodderly, 67, retired from the Postal Service in 1992 at age 60. He said he gained 25 pounds over the next three years and suffered a heart attack on Thanksgiving Day of 1995. He survived a quintuple bypass operation.

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"My legs were in great shape," he said, raising his right pant leg and pointing to the scar where doctors took a vein for his bypass. "But I had a heart attack. The doctor told me I would have been dead a long time ago if I didn't have this job. I can name five other guys who delivered mail with me who had bypasses, too. I don't know why that is. They say walking is supposed to be good for you."

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Snodderly, of 355 Laurel Lane, said he's felt good since the operation.

His doctor told him to get out and walk and he needed something to do, so he turned to what he knows best - delivering something.

He's been a Domino's Pizza delivery man since the fall of 1997, working 15 to 20 hours a week. "It gets me walking and gives me some pocket money," he said.

An added benefit is working with young people, he said. "They don't know what I'm talking about when I talk about something that happened 40 years ago, and I never know what they're talking about. But I like being around them, and they respect me."

Snodderly started delivering mail in 1967 when it was still the U.S. Post Office Department. It became the quasi-private U.S. Postal Service in 1971. At first he was a "floater," filling in on any of the post office's nine routes as needed. In 1975 he took over Route 7, the north end, as his own.

He delivered mail to 720 customers along the route, which began on East Main Street at Broad and headed west on the north side to North Church Street. He went up and down North Church, then back down to Main Street and west again to North Potomac Street and all the streets in between, including Garfield, King, Brown, Wallace Court, Elder Avenue, Penn, West North, Cottage and Middle streets. Then he would head back to the office.

He arrived at work at 7 a.m., took two hours to sort his mail before heading out the route.

He tells the usual dog stories particularly the one about a dog that always followed him up Wayne Avenue nipping at his heels, One day he gave it a piece of candy from the bag he always carried to hand out to kids along his way. "That dog and I became life-long friends after that," Snodderly said.

He said he got to know most of the people on his route. He also said he saw many of them pass on in the 17 years he walked it.

He also said he got used over the years, all except the ice. "That was always the worst," he said.

A test of his dedication to the letter carrier's code surfaced when Snodderly retired. He had accumulated 2,500 hours of unused sick leave. "I never missed a day on account of snow. The only time I took a day off was when I had to go to the dentist," he said.

He gets the same satisfaction of serving people delivering pizzas as he did as a mailman. "A lot of people I deliver pizza to used to be on my mail route and they recognize me," he said.

He gets paid a little more than minimum wage, gets mileage for his car and keeps his tips. "Most people are good about giving tips, but there's always some that say `keep the Penny'," he said.

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