ALACHUA – With a familiar and welcoming face, Len Thomas is somewhat of an icon at the Alachua Post Office.
For 50 years Thomas has been helping customers at the post office, and June 8 will mark the 50th anniversary of his employment and also his retirement after a long career.
Thomas began his career at age 21 in the building which is now the City of Alachua Chamber of Commerce and Museum on Main Street. Thomas began his career as a part-time flexible clerk (PTF). Throughout the years he has filled in for postmasters, served as a safety ambassador and will finish his career as the lead clerk.
Over the years he has seen a lot of changes in the Postal Service. Thomas has moved with the Alachua Post Office into three different buildings. He moved from a tiny office downtown to the current location across the street from Alachua City Hall. He has watched the local mail service grow from two rural routes to 10. He witnessed all the services and records go from handwritten entries to computer and digital formats.
Prior to joining the Postal Service, Thomas served in the Army in a Reconnaissance Division. Upon his return to Alachua he worked at a local gas station called Odeas, and then joined the Post Office. Since then he has become a well-known fixture at the post office, and people often stop by to see him on a daily basis. Over the years, he and his wife Angie have raised seven children and 12 grandchildren in Alachua.
Thomas's involvement in the community covers much more than his job at the post office, and over the years he has been active in the community. He was a volunteer for the local fire department and a substitute teacher for 15 years at Santa Fe High School. He was a successful high school softball and basketball coach as well as a coach in local youth leagues.
Thomas was also involved in local city government, holding a seat on the City Board for Parks and Recreation, and from there he was elected to the Alachua City Commission. As a city commissioner he played an intricate part in shaping the community into what it is today. He has watched it grow from a small town of fewer than 2,000 in 1960 to nearly 10,000 today.
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