Post office named for Truett Cathy

By Greg Gelpi

Joining the likes of presidents and civil rights leaders, a local restaurant entrepreneur and philanthropist has been honored by the U.S. Congress.

President George W. Bush signed legislation naming the Jonesboro Post Office the "S. Truett Cathy Post Office Building" after Chick-fil-A's founder and chairman. The post office is at 225 N. Main St.

His name means a lot to him, said Charles Q. Carter, the pastor emeritus at Jonesboro First Baptist Church. For about 50 years, Cathy has taught Sunday school at the church and continues to do so.

Each time Cathy signs one of the three books he has written he scribbles the Bible verse Proverbs 22:1 under his name, Carter said.

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold," the Bible verse states.

Beyond a great businessman, Cathy is a great person, Carter said.

"You've heard of people who are bigger than life," he said.

"This is truly one of those individuals. I think some people are destined to make a difference and destined to high positions in life."

Cathy is a good steward of God's gifts and is always looking to invest in children, Carter said. Despite his busy schedule that takes him around the world, he gives, not only of his money, but also of his time.

Cathy has given millions of dollars in scholarships and established orphanages in the Southeast and even in Brazil.

"It's just quite an honor," said Robert Negrin, the manager of the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Jonesboro. "It says a lot about what he has done in the community."

Negrin, a 13-year employee of Chick-fil-A, said Cathy has been successful in his personal, religious and family lives, as well as his business life.

"He has never forgotten his roots, and he puts God first," U.S. Congressman David Scott, D-Atlanta, said. "Not many people attain this and those who do are in a special class."

Cathy's works have benefited "thousands and thousands" of children, Scott, who sponsored the legislation, said.

"Generations upon generations will know the name ?Truett Cathy,'" Scott said. "Truett Cathy honors us and me by presenting such a worthy individual to put his name on a United States postal office."

Scott said that Cathy gives his employees no excuse for not being as religious as he is by closing all of his restaurants on Sundays.

"I think any time you put a name on a government building it's quite a big deal," Michael Miles, a spokesperson with the U.S. Postal Service, said.

Congress was given the authority to name post offices a few years ago and since has named about a dozen in Georgia, Miles said.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place in about 60 days, he said. The public is invited to the event in which an official plaque honoring Cathy will be affixed to the post office.

Cathy was attending a conference of Christian authors Tuesday and could not be reached.