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Post Office vets honor fallen colleague

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Of the nearly 100 clerks, carriers, and machine operators who work inside the Jonesboro Post Office, about a third of them are veterans, or military reservists, a trend that is common throughout the United States, employees said.

On Friday morning, the post office at 255 North Main St., honored 30 of its veteran employees in a ceremony inside the mailroom.

In addition to honoring employees who served in three foreign wars, as well as employees who could be activated at anytime to serve in "The War On Terror," post office employees honored Bobby Hollar, one of their own, who died two years ago while serving in Iraq.

While Hollar was on Army patrol Sept. 1, 2005, on the outskirts of Baghdad, he and another soldier switched seats inside their military Humvee. Minutes later, a roadside bomb tore through the vehicle. The other soldier lived, but Hollar succumbed to his wounds later that day.

The post office in Hollar's hometown of Thomaston, located south of Griffin, was renamed in his honor during a ceremony on April 13.

For the celebration, employees from the post office's Quality Work Life Employment Improvement (QWLEI) team, assembled a collage, celebrating the life of Hollar. Prior to his death, he worked at the Jonesboro Post Office for eight years. Almost 20 employees who worked with him, shared pictures of themselves in uniform in a glass display case in the post office foyer.

The ceremony was the first time Hollar had been honored at the post office in an official capacity, said Feangela Ross, a rural mail carrier who organized the event.

"Even though it was two and a half years ago, it seems like it was just yesterday," said Ross. "You always want to do something to honor people. It actually makes me feel very proud. This is one of the best projects that we have done so far. I hope that every year it gets bigger."

Prior to working as a retail associate for the Jonesboro Post Office for 10 years, Paul Ross, Jr., Feangela's husband, served in the Air Force for 26 years. The veteran of Operation Dessert Storm said that the post office has a long history of hiring servicemen like Hollar.

"They are drawn to veterans, because they know our traits and our work habits," said Ross. "We are dependable, and we are going to do the job that we've been given to do.

"Bobby was a very humble, loving, giving person," said Ross. "He always had a smile on his face. He put his all into everything that he did. One of the things that he was proud of, was that he had an opportunity to serve his country."

Robert Colvin, an Army veteran, who served in the Vietnam War, has worked in the Jonesboro Post Office for 28 years. He knew Hollar the entire time he worked there.

"It was a sad moment in our personal hearts, but Bobby was doing what God called him to do," said Colvin. "He had no qualms ... he took things day by day.

"Freedom is what a veteran is about. If we don't have veterans ... present, future, and past ... then this country isn't going to have freedom," said Colvin.