"I saw some of the downsizing going to be taking place, and I thought, why not do it now?" explained just-retired Riverdale, Nebraska postmaster John Schafer.
In thinking about retirement, Mr. Schafer had to wrestle with the fact that his Riverdale post office branch was one of the many rural Nebraska postal service locations in danger being shut down.
"I started to look at what the proposal was with viewing -- with the small post offices in the next couple of years, and I just felt that it was time," Schafer recalled.
For now, at least, the Riverdale post office will remain open as usual; that is, until it goes part-time.
"With the cutbacks that will be coming, and Riverdale will be one of those that will be cutting back to a four hour a day office, in the future, it could be possibly up to September of 2014 before that takes effect,"
said the former postmaster.
For many in rural communities like Riverdale, population about 200, post offices and their staff are more than just letter carriers. In keeping their appointed rounds, they act as a sort of lifeline, staying current on the well-being of the citizens, especially seniors, on their routes.
In gratitude for all the letters Mr. Schafer faithfully delivered to his friends, his faithful friends and the Riverdale Rounders band delivered him a musical send-off at the Riverdale Community Center on Saturday afternoon.
The band members and their audience are some of John Schafer's former postal customers.
"He kept an eye on the whole town. Sometimes he'd walk around town on his noon hour break in order to know where people lived and how they were doing. Yes, he was very thoughtful of the other people in town," reflected Riverdale senior Allen Richards.