Post office named for Chick-fil-A founder

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By Greg Gelpi

Beyond the fast food chicken chain and catchy "Eat mor chikin" slogans, Chick-fil-A's founder is more than an outstanding businessman.

A ceremony honored S. Truett Cathy, the founder and chief executive officer of Chick-fil-A, and officially named the Jonesboro Post Office after him Saturday for his service to the community.

A host of politicians and dignitaries unveiled a replica of a plaque that will be affixed to the newly named S. Truett Cathy Post Office.

"I would like to be remembered that I have kept my priorities in order," Cathy said.

Starting with his first restaurant in Hapeville, his company has expanded to 1,000 locations and even became the first fast food restaurant to establish a location in a mall.

But business hasn't been Cathy's first priority, he said. Service to God and service to the community have taken precedence over business.

This year marks the 50th year of Cathy teaching Sunday school to teen boys at Jonesboro First Baptist Church, he has established 14 orphanages, including one in Brazil, and his company has given away millions in scholarship money.

Mark Cathy, 22, said he remembers sitting in his grandfather's rocking chair and spending time as child at his house.

"It's pretty cool to see," he said. "It instills in me a great deal of respect for the name."

Clayton County Commissioner Carl Rhodenizer recalled moving to the county in 1951 as a member of the military. He would eat breakfast regularly at the Dwarf House in Hapeville, and Truett Cathy would be cooking eggs.

"As a public servant, I think it's important to use your time and resources to give back to the community," said Rhodenizer, who told of asking Cathy for money for Rainbow House. He made a "strong commitment to Rainbow House, and I have never forgotten it."

Cathy regularly quotes Proverbs 22:1, which says "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."

Charles Q. Carter, pastor emeritus of Jonesboro First Baptist Church, said his name is one of a man who has accomplished much as a businessman and Christian.

"May it be a testimony to all who enter here to his faith to moral values," Carter said.

Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day also presented a proclamation to Cathy, establishing Aug. 28, 2004, as "S. Truett Cathy Day" in Jonesboro.

The sorting room of the post office was filled with guests to share in the naming.

"The outpouring of support is certainly indicative of the love and support of this man we came here to honor today," U.S. Congressman David Scott, D-Atlanta, said. "This man didn't stop at building a business, but saved souls."

Scott authored legislation to name the post office after Cathy and said he hopes children come for generations and ask to hear the story of who the facility is named for. The naming will hopefully inspire more "Truett Cathys."

"We're not doing Truett Cathy a great honor," Scott said. "Truett Cathy is doing us a great honor."

Cathy continued to demonstrate his charitable nature, giving away signed copies of his yet to be released book "It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men."