Photo by Carla Waters

John Causley is presented with a certificate of appreciation for his 20 years with the U.S. Postal Service from Watseka Postmaster Darrin Rushbrook.

A Watseka man is enjoying some retirement time after 20 years with the U.S. Postal Service.

John Causley was honored Thursday morning by Watseka Postmaster Darrin Rushbrook for his years of service.

Rushbrook noted that Causley not only worked for the U.S. Postal Service, but also spent 20 years in the military.

“The one thing special about John that I really liked is that he spent 20 years active military service. Three years with the U.S. Army; 17 with the U.S. Navy. And then he put 20 years in with the postal service. We don’t find that very often,” Rushbrook said.

Causley served three years with the U.S. Army as Military Police, from 1973-76. He was barely out of high school.

After that three years as an MP, “I got out for a year,” he said, “then went back in the Navy and was an aviation electrician’s mate for four years, then I found out the avionics guys got a $16,000 bonus, so I swapped rates and was an avionic’s technician for 17 years.

“Then I got out and worked out as an alarm technician for five years for Aaron’s Alarm in Bourbonnais. The unemployment office placed me there,” he said, noting that they felt his experience as an MP and with electronics would be useful there,.

He then tested to work for the U.S. Postal Service, and started in May of 1999. He retired in September.

Causley was born in Chicago and raised in Bradley. In fact, he said, he lived in Bourbonnais, Bradley, Bridgeview, Chicago Ridge and Midlothian.

“This house I live in in Watseka I’ve lived in for 24 years. That’s the longest I’ve every lived anywhere,” he said.

His step father was a police officer and his grandfather was a retired Chicago police officer. “IT was just natural for me to want to be a police officer,” he said. So he was in the U.S. Army and an MP.

“After you are there you wake up and think “Why am I working all these holidays? Why am I working when everybody is off?’ I was a kid, you know? I didn’t like it after I was there for a while.

“When I went into the Navy, I tested well for electronics and they put me in that,” he said.

While he served in the military he had chances to go overseas.

“I’ve seen the world like three or four times,” he said. “I’ve seen the Pyramids, the Sphinx, they are right next to each other. I’ve seen where Jesus was born. I’ve been stationed in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Italy, Tunisia and Israel.”

While in Israel he almost was able to see the youth symphony.

“I saw the conductor in a bowling alley of all places,” he said. “They are famous all around Europe. They play on TV and all around Europe. And they were going to play for us, but we had to pull out.” Causley said his ship was in the Mediterranean and in the area of the “Line of Death” as then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called it. “We were on the Line of Death in the Mediterranean — Libya. We got in a fight with them and shot down two of their aircraft because they were coming at us.

“Yeah, I’ve been around the world a lot,” he said. “My mom always used to say she wished she saw the world through my eyes. I’ve been lucky.”

The U.S. Postal Service intrigued him at first, he said, because of the pay and the benefits. He said he has enjoyed the time he was a postal carrier.

There are similarities between the military and postal service, he said.

“It’s the camaraderie,” he said, “especially in the military.”

Because he is retired military, he said, when he and wife, Diana, go on vacation they can stay at the lodges. “She loves being around military bases because they are more polite and they are more respectful of each other’s property,” he said, “whereas in the civilian world it’s totally different.

“The postal service, they are a lot the same way. There’s no slobs around here,” he said.

There have been some bad times, too.

“The worst day I had with the postal service was 9-11,” he said, of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. “I was throwing a box of extra mail and I heard two guys out front saying ‘I heard a plane hit the World Trade Center’ and the other guy said “Really, what kind?’ and he said ‘I think it was a Cessna’, so I wasn’t thinking much about it.

“I used to carry the downtown route,” he said. “I was carrying mail to a beauty parlor and it had TV. Then the plane hit the second tower. I was so angry. I had to apologize to my customers the next day and they said “oh, you are OK’, he said.

Now that he’s retired, he said he has some plans.

One of them is working part-time at a car dealership, which he’s already started doing. “I always have to be doing something,” he said.

He’s joined Shewami Country Club. “In the summer I plan to go golfing,” he said.

He’d like for his wife to retire, to, but she still has plans to keep working for now. She, too, works for the postal service.

Causley’s retirement was honored with a certificate and refreshments with fellow postal carriers at the Watseka Post Office.