HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — After serving the United States Army for 22 years, Raymond Whiteside went on to serve 23 years in the United States Postal Service.
For 16 of those years, he brought mail, packages and joy to the Historic Little England neighborhood.
When he retired last month, Whiteside’s customers sent him out with fanfare.
“Now is the time, more than ever, to recognize people for doing good things,” said Larry McKenzie, who has lived in the neighborhood for a decade. “Over the years, the neighborhood really got to know Ray as a friend, someone who was really kind, did a good job, cared about their work.”
When Whiteside began his route on his last day of work, he saw blocks of homes had decorated mailboxes, congratulations posters and farewell messages written in chalk.
“I wouldn’t trade that neighborhood for anything,” Whiteside said. “I just couldn’t say enough about those customers out there. They were always so welcoming, so kind.”
Whiteside said he was overcome with emotion when he realized how many people had put in the time and effort to thank him for his years on the job.
“It just became so emotional that I wanted to take pictures of every house,” he said. “But I wouldn’t have been able to finish my route that day.”