DALLAS — There's an old saying often associated with the U.S. Postal Service: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
People in one North Dallas neighborhood say their postman is a living symbol of that creed. But now, after more than 40 years, Frankie Nealon is retiring.
So they honored him on Tuesday.
"I'm a mailman," Nealon said. "I'm out here to do a service."
The carrier has delivered mail to North Texas families over the last four decades.
"He's delivered good news and he's delivered sad news," said Audrey Mitchell, who lives along Nealon's route.
For the last 20 years, that route has included the Northwood Hills neighborhood in far North Dallas. His customers say Frankie is like family.
"When you get him talking, he'll open up a little bit about his background and his family," said Rebel Webster, another Northwood Hills customer. "He has 17 grandchildren."
For Nealon, the feeling is mutual.
"I've seen kids grow up, go off to college, and come back with their families," he said.
The veteran carrier, who delivered mail to Pleasant Grove and South Dallas before his current route, is parking his truck and calling it quits at the end of the month.
To honor him, his friends in Northwood Hills put out yellow balloons, signs, and even personal notes on their mailboxes.
"Frankie means the world to us," Mitchell said. "So we decided to wrap our box with the world."
His customers say Nealon is special.
"He always has a smile," Webster said. "He always has time to say 'Hello.' He doesn't just drop the mail off."
Nealon said he’s looking forward to retirement and spending more time with his grandchildren.
His adoring customers say whoever takes over his route will have big shoes to fill.