POCATELLO — A Pocatello mailman known not only for delivering letters but also serving others is retiring after 23 years on the job.
Thursday will be Brett Hochhalter’s last day working as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service.
“It’s been nice. It’s been real,” Hochhalter said. “I’ve enjoyed it, being a mailman is pretty cool.”
Of course, Hochhalter is also a pretty cool mailman.
He not only walks eight miles a day to deliver mail to the customers on his route, but he goes out of his way to serve them in other ways.
Roughly 80 percent of his customers have his phone number and they call him when they’re going on vacation and need him to hold their mail. It saves them having to go stand in line at the local post office to make the same request, Hochhalter said.
He’s also been known to mow lawns and even shovel snow for households in need of assistance in his off hours.
The latter garnered him some national attention in 2019, when former U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan wrote him a letter commending him for his “selfless display of civic duty.”
At that time, Brennan noted that the Postal Service has played an “integral role in the daily lives of American citizens for 243 years.”
“Your efforts are a timely reminder of the ties that bind communities and our country together,” Brennan wrote in her letter.
Hochhalter, who has been walking the same route for a couple of decades, says he’s gotten close to his customers. If one of them needs assistance with a small project they can’t do themselves, he often volunteers to help and when he can’t, he points them to someone who can.
“Everybody should try to be nice to people,” Hochhalter said.
Of course, Hochhalter’s customers do nice things for him, too.
Hochhalter said a handful of people leave water, chips, candy bars, cookies and thank you notes out for him to enjoy as he walks his route.
When he’s not delivering mail, Hochhalter finds other ways to serve his community. He owns the local roofing company, M&M Contracting, which provides a roof for someone in need each year and volunteers to roof houses for Habitat for Humanity.
Hochhalter has also served his country. He was in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years.
Now that he’s retiring from Postal Service work, Hochhalter is looking forward to focusing on his roofing business and spending a little more time in the office.
“My body’s not getting any younger,” he said, adding that it’s time for someone else to take over his route.
Still, Hochhalter plans to keep in touch with those he’s served over the past 23 years.
“I’ll still go visit my customers,” he said. “I’ll still stay in contact with them.”