A beloved mail carrier who worked for the United States Post Office for 33 years celebrated his retirement on Saturday with the Northern Virginia neighborhood he served for more than half of that time.
“Good afternoon neighborhood friends, family, friends of Robert - the best mailman on the planet Earth,” one man said into a microphone at the gathering to whoops and applause. “We are here to celebrate him [and] his 30-some years of service.”
Robert Gillis spent more than 18 years delivering mail to residents in Falls Church, becoming a friend and part of their families. And there were plenty of families.
“I made sure all of my family out here knew that my retirement was coming up, so I sent like over 200-something cards,” he said.
“He just took his job to heart, you know? Even more than that, he always went above and beyond,” a resident told News4. “He wanted to make sure that we always got our mail, that it was delivered correctly. He was just good at what he did, and that was more than just being a mailman.”
Gillis said that while his job was to deliver “through rain, sleet, snow,” he didn’t have to do it alone.
“Even [on] some of the coldest days or some of the hottest days, my second family out here always looked out for me,” he said.
News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has been covering this side of the state since joining NBC4 in 1992. She's joined by reporter Drew Wilder.
Party favors of cutout mail trucks and lettering that boasted “Our Favorite Mailman” decorated tables as Gillis received hugs and pats on the back from neighbors.
“Especially this day and age, it’s rare to find somebody that goes above and beyond in their job and really cares heart and soul about what they do,” the resident added. “And he’s just an amazing human. He’s already sorely missed in this community.”