Liberty postmaster retires after many years of service

LIBERTY — Joe Dunlap began his career as a clerk and carrier with the United States Postal Service at the Pendleton post office in 1983. On Friday, July 20, after 29 years of service, he retired as postmaster from the Liberty post office.
Before starting work with the USPS, Dunlap had completed college at Wofford and was working with his father in the family business, but he decided that owning the family business was not exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his professional life.
“I knew I liked people,” said Dunlap. Armed with this knowledge, he took the exam to become an employee with the U.S. Postal Service, passed and began his post in Pendleton.
In 1986, Dunlap had the opportunity to become a supervisor with the post office in Piedmont, a position he graciously accepted. Four years later, he was appointed the rank of postmaster and relocated in the position to the in Marietta post office.
The Fountain Inn P.O. became Dunlap’s next position as postmaster in 1992, followed by a move to Williamston in 1997. In 2004, Dunlap settled into the postmaster position at the Liberty post office, where he has been for the last eight years.
Hands down, the part of postal service Dunlap most enjoyed was the interaction he was able to have with individuals and the community as a whole.
“I had the opportunity to really get to know my customers and the public,” said Dunlap. “That part of the job was the most fulfilling.
“I have worked in a lot of places,” said Dunlap. “The people in Liberty — both employees and customers — are among the nicest folks in the Upstate.”
As postmaster, Dunlap was in charge of overseeing the entire branch of whichever post office he served over the years. This includes retail, delivery and operations. Most people never think about the amount of work and precision that is required to make mail delivery run like a finely tuned machine, he said.
“Being postmaster is not a 9-to-5 job. Mail operation goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Dunlap. “I took a very hands-on approach to my job and I was basically on call even when the office was closed to the general public.”
Beginning a new chapter in his life, Dunlap does look forward to having more free time so he can catch up with friends and acquaintances.
“I will still go back and visit the Liberty post office,” said Dunlap. “Over the years, customers become friends.”
Dunlap noted that, as a result of technology — electronic mail and bill payment specifically — there are not as many personal pieces of mail delivered as in years past.
“The Post Office is still the best deal in town. We have high delivery standards at a minimal cost to customers,” said Dunlap. “There is something so much more personal about a piece of mail and something handwritten on paper that isn’t the same as e-mail.”
While there continue to be advances in technology, Dunlap does not foresee the Postal Service as ever becoming obsolete. He has dedicated the last 29 years of service to an institution in which he believes.
“The customers I’m going to miss the most. Being able to help solve problems — whether it is a mail forwarding issue or a lost piece of mail — makes folks grateful for the individual attention,” said Dunlap. “Meeting those needs has always been gratifying.”