Whenever I (Anthony Crosby) sit down to write a new AAT article, I take a moment to truly appreciate the fact that someone has allowed me to hear about and write their story. It can be easy to take for granted the fact that someone even agreed to let me interview them in the first place. Talking about oneself and life can be an awkward/intimidating thing for some individuals, especially for my guests who tend to be a little more reserved or introverted, as was the case with today’s featured person. Therefore, I greatly appreciate everyone who trusts me enough to not only allow me to hear about their life, but share it with their neighbors.
This week, we’re joined by Mr. Rod Hill. If you’ve ever had to utilize the post office on Aspen Way (behind Smith’s Food & Drugs), odds are Rod has assisted you with your parcel needs as he’s served as the primary window clerk for that mail station for over thirteen years! Overall, Rod has worked at that post office for nearly two decades, so if there’s anyone with a unique perspective on the Elko community, it would be him. Although Rod is the kind of person who is content with showing up to work, faithfully doing his job, and then going home, he stayed late one evening to talk with AAT, and we couldn’t be more thankful!
Rod, to kick off this conversation, can you please tell us how you ended up becoming one of the most consistent faces in the city?
“I was born and raised in Las Vegas. I went to school at Utah State in Logan, Utah. After school, I went back to Las Vegas and got in the wine business. I loved it, but I was out hitting the streets and in the stores all the time, and I knew I had to eventually get out of Las Vegas because I didn’t want to raise a family down there. I moved up here [Elko] in 1995 with my two sons, who were five and six at the time, and my ex who I was with at the time. When we first got here, I went to work for Smith’s, which was a brand new company here at the time, so I had the job waiting for me because I knew the buyers from Smith’s liqueur department. In 2000 is when I went to work for the post office. I worked at both Smith’s and the post office for about three years, but that was hard on my body, so I went down to only working at the post office.
“I never gave any thought to ever working at the post office until one day I was looking through the newspaper and saw they were giving the postal exam. The exam was a civil service test you had to take and get a certain score from before they would consider interviewing you; they don’t do this anymore, however. So, I saw this ad, went and took the exam, and out of the one hundred and sixty-five people who took the test, I got the third highest score! I ended up getting hired three weeks later, and I’ve been here ever since. You never know when you’re going to have those life-changing experiences!”
With almost twenty years on duty, what have you come to love most about being behind your mail counter every day?
“I like working with the public! I’ve always been in retail; when I was in the wine business, I would go from store to store, and I had to engage with many different types of personalities. That’s where I really learned how to interact with different attitudes and people, so when I was given the opportunity to work the front window here at the post office, I jumped at it! Dealing with the public is a big plus for me.”
Is there anything that can be particularity frustrating when it comes to the job, Rod?
“It can be frustrating working for the federal government and all their red tape. Even getting simple things accomplished, like having a landscaping company come in and care for our grass can sometimes take years to happen. Also, sometimes people will come in with a chip on their shoulder; they’ll be upset about something. However, that doesn’t happen too often anymore. People know they won’t get very far if they come at me with a negative attitude; that doesn’t work with me.”
Rod, can you talk a little bit about what made you choose this community after you decided to move out of Vegas? Yes, you had job connections here, but you still could have gone anywhere else to establish roots. Why Elko?
“Well, I’ve never thought about living anywhere else after I moved here. All I knew before coming here was that I had to get out of Las Vegas, so it was either go back to Logan, Utah where I went to school or come to Elko. As a kid, my family used to spend a lot of time in North Eastern Nevada on vacation, and all the fishing and mountains really appealed to me as an outdoors person. So, for six months, I had the Elko Daily Free Press delivered down to me in Vegas so I could read and learn about the area, and I would come up and stay for a few nights in a hotel with the kids to see what was happening around town. Finally, I decided this was where I wanted to live! I’ve always liked it here.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your community before we let you finally go home after a long day at the post office?
“I’m usually a pretty private person. I like to be at home. I’m a gardener; I don’t normally go out at night. I would like to work here at the post office for at least another two years, but as long as I can stay healthy, continue to enjoy the job, and can continue to do so at a high level, I would love to be here for another five years. I think it would be important to let the people know that!”
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See you around, Elko