GRADY COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – “I like being out in the country driving around,” Dwayne Cockrum said. “I get to meet a lot of good folks out there.”
Dwayne has met a lot of people throughout his 30 years delivering the mail in rural Grady County, but the pleasure is not all his.
“I lived in that house 25 years. He’s the only one that I can remember,” Garland Terry said. “He is just the greatest guy. The world is full of low input operators, and he ain’t one of them. He hand carries the packages up to the porch. If he sees you in the yard, he hands you the mail, ‘Hi. How ya doin’?'”
But Dwayne does much more than deliver the mail with a smile and a friendly exchange. He has repaired mailboxes, and his wife even told us of the time he helped rescue a woman who had fallen and was stuck waiting for someone to come along and help her. Like the postal service motto goes, “Neither snow, no rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night”, Dwayne is always there.
“One time after an ice storm, I was out checking things, and he’s upside down in a ditch. I mean, a six feet tall ditch. You could barely see his little jeep. He’s outside. He’s not hurt, thank God. He would not leave his jeep,” Terry said. “I got him to wait in the pickup with me. He was not going to leave his mail. He’s dedicated.”
When a replacement Jeep showed up, Dwayne finished the route in the middle of an ice storm.
“Guys like Dwayne never get recognized,” Terry said. “They’re there. If they show up, you know about it, but they never get any credit for anything.”
But today, he is. Word quickly spread about Dwayne’s Pay It 4Ward nomination.
“He’s kind of one of our public servants who is pretty special or should be to everyone,” said Bobby Kizzia. “His friendly face, he’s always got a smile. I’ve always enjoyed every visit I’ve ever had with Dwayne.”
Many of the people along his route met us at the Chickasha Post Office to help recognize him.
“Dwayne, I’m Joleen Chaney with News 4, and a lot of the people on your route have gathered here, because we hear you are retiring, and they’re going to miss you so much, and they appreciate all the years of service that you’ve done going above and beyond, the conversations you guys have had. I’ve heard so many stories.”
“Don’t believe half of what you hear.”
“Oh, no. They were all wonderful, and they’ve got something for you.”
“Dwayne, in appreciation of all your years of hard work and good friendship and just doing a great job, we’d like to give you $400 to pay it forward.”
“This is not necessary. Thank you.”
Oh, but it is. And so very timely, as well.
“I’m going to graduate or retire on my 70th birthday,” Dwayne said.
A Pay It 4Ward surprise. But really, Dwayne said, the past three decades have been the real gift.
“You get to meet a lot of people that you normally wouldn’t. So, it’s been a rewarding thing for me to be able to do this. To me it’s not a job, it’s really an opportunity that I’ve had,” he said. “There are a lot of good people out there.”
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Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.