Postal Worker Retires After Over 40 YearsJul 01, 2016 09:22AM ● By Kelly Cannon
Lance McRae is retiring from being a clerk after over 40 years at the post office. —Steve Ford
By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]
After working for over 40 years, Lance McRae is getting ready to retire from the post office. McRae, who’s lived in Sandy since 1971, has worked as a window clerk for the post office since 1976 at the office on 700 East.
McRae started working at the post office when he was newly married at the age of 23. He believed it was a secure job where he could raise his family.
When McRae started at the post office, Sandy consisted of 10 routes and only one zip code. It has since grown into 40 routes and six zip codes.
“It’s grown quite a bit and there have been huge changes in 45 years,” McRae said. “It’s been a lot of fun working with the public. That’s been the best part.”
During that time, there were no computers at the post office. McRae said there were a variety of scales that had to be hand-operated along with 10-key adding machines in order to calculate the price of a letter. Because there was only one zip code and eight routes, sorting and delivering mail was relatively easy.
“It was very easy compared to now,” McRae said. “It’s quite a bit more complicated.”
As the city grew, so did the post office. A trailer had to eventually be added to the post office because there wasn’t enough room for all the mail and the workers.
“We had to sort the parcels outside in the parking lot and load up the jeeps,” McRae said.
Because of the advent of online shopping, McRae said the post office deals with many more packages and parcels than they do letters, though they still get a high volume of letters during the holiday season.
McRae said teenagers will come into the post office without any idea how to send a letter or a package.
“They haven’t the foggiest idea, literally no idea how to mail something,” he said. “They don’t even know where to put the stamp.”
Just like at the post office, McRae and his wife Rachelle have seen many changes to Sandy City over the course of their 45-year marriage. Rachelle explained there were no restaurants in Sandy and only two grocery stores. There weren’t many houses in Sandy and they could see the foothills from their home. However, they were able to experience a community forming around them.
“Sandy people are the salt of the Earth,” Rachelle said. “A smile will win their hearts.”
Rachelle and Lance raised six kids in Sandy and the neighborhood families also had a lot of kids.
“Everyone would come together and help each other. There was always a hoard of kids running around,” Rachelle said. “Now we’re part of the aging community and the second generation of young families are moving in.”
McRae said he is really going to miss working with the public. He said there are customers who are willing to wait 20 minutes in order to work with him as opposed to other clerks.
“I treat people with love. I treat them how they would like to be treated,” McRae said. “I try to understand their problems.”
McRae’s last day will be on August 1. After that, he and Rachelle plan on spending more time with their six children and soon to be 17 grandchildren. McRae is planning a camping trip with his grandsons before one of his grandson goes to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also plans on learning Spanish, fishing, hunting and learning the guitar. He’s also going to continue with his hobby of researching family history.
“I’m going to do exactly what I want to do,” McRae said.
McRae said he’s been grateful for his career at the post office. Looking back over the thousands of people he’s helped, he can only recall about a dozen of negative experiences. The rest have been wonderful.
“It’s been a really fulfilling experience because I chose to make it that way. I’m going to miss the public but I’ve reach that point where you want to relax,” McRae said. “I’m going to be grateful to be the one waiting in line.” λ