LONG BEACH -- Though many people promise to make changes in the new year, Long Beach resident Pete McGoey is delivering on what he hopes to do in 2016 -- he's made a decision and he's going through with it.
Hanging up his mailbag
As of Friday, McGoey is no longer the postmaster at the Long Beach post office.
McGoey said after more than 40 years of working as a civil servant, he decided it was time to hang up his mailbag for good.
"I've been with the Postal Service for 39 years, and I have an additional three years with the Army," he said. "The people who preceded me told me that when it would be time to retire you would feel it. I am at the point where I want to move on and do something a little bit different while I still can."
A native of New Orleans, McGoey moved to Long Beach when he was 16. He started his postal career as a mail carrier in Long Beach, which he said he did for almost 20 years. After being promoted to a supervisor position, McGoey was named postmaster at the Pass Christian post office.
But after 2005's Hurricane Katrina changed the mail routes in towns along the Coast in 2005, McGoey said he wanted to come back to Long Beach.
"I consider Long Beach my hometown; I'm a Bearcat," he said. "I always wanted to come back and be the postmaster in my hometown."
Changes in the mail game
During his almost four decades working for the post office, he said he's seen many changes.
"I came from a 'pen and paper' era, as did a lot of postal workers," he said. "Everything now is done on a computer."
He said the changes in technology did make some things easier for postal workers.
"We used to have to sort all of the mail by hand," he said. "Now it's done by machines."
When asked about the future of mail delivery, McGoey said he believes the biggest challenge postmasters face is outdated equipment.
"Most (delivery) fleets used by the post office are about 20 years old," he said. "Letter-mail volume will probably decrease because of online bill payments but online shopping is increasing, which means there will be more parcel deliveries. The post office will have to upgrade its fleet to meet this demand."
A beloved boss
Some of McGoey's co-workers said Thursday he will be missed.
Claudia Murphy of Bay St. Louis fought back tears as she reminisced over the five years she worked with him.
"(McGoey) brought me over here five years ago," she said. "I know it sounds hokey, but he saved my life."
Murphy said she will miss the family-like atmosphere McGoey forged at the Long Beach post office.
"I've never worked with this level of camaraderie," she said. "This was the best experience I've had in my 32 years in the Postal Service."
Lynn Fouasnon said she worked with McGoey in Pass Christian and then made the move with him to Long Beach.
"I worked with him for 12 years," she said. "I'm going to miss working with him very much. He was a very fair man."
The next step
The father of five and grandchildren of seven said he plans to take about six months off and enjoy spending time with his family and pursuing his hobbies.
"I bought a boat, and I plan on doing a little hunting and a little fishing," he said.
He said he will miss his co-workers, and he is proud of his body of work with the Postal Service.
"I've enjoyed the ride, and I have no regrets," he said. "It's just time to move on."