Town honors retiring Center Postmaster Arellano

Photo by Marie Mccolm Retiring Center Postmaster Paul Arrellano received a plaque from the Town of Center for his many years of service to the community. He was honored at a trustee meeting on June 25.

CENTER – In a ceremony that was held on June 25, at a Center Board of Trustee meeting, beloved recently retired United States Postmaster Paul Arellano received a plaque and was thanked by the town for his years of dedicated service.

Town Trustee Bill McClure handed the plaque to Arellano and read the plaque as he handed it to him.

“In appreciation of your years of service at the United States Post Office in Center, Colorado. We would like to thank you for the dedication and commitment you have shown to the citizens of our community. We hope you enjoy the retirement that you so richly deserve,” McClure said.

The bottom of the plaque read, “Postmaster for Center Colorado. Service from 1995-2024. The Mail Goes On.” With emotion filled eyes, Arellano shook McClure’s hand and thanked him, while posing for a picture with his plaque.  

Arellano began his career in the Postal Service after being a real estate agent, and a carpenter for 10 years. Arellano was looking for something that would provide more for his family, and something that he might do until he was ready to retire.

“I was looking to try to get into the Post Office. I got hired in 1990 and began working at the Post Office in Alamosa. I worked all shifts because they ran 24 hours. I worked there for 5 years before I decided to apply for a job in Center at that Post Office,” he said.

Arellano’s daughter, Analisa, said that she recalled when her dad was working night shifts, because she was little, and she remembered her mom watching her brother and some other kids in the day and always telling them to be quiet because their dad was sleeping.

“Looking back on that, I know that we were noisy little kids. We always enjoyed having dinner with our dad though, that was about the time he would get up, was around dinnertime. We had a few hours with dad and then he would go to work. I look back now, and I am so proud of my father for being such a hard worker, even though I was such a noisy little kid,” she said with a smile.

Arellano said that although he enjoyed his job at the Alamosa Post Office, his reason for applying to the Center Post Office was to see if there was a way to advance in his position, as the Center office was smaller.

“I felt like I might have a better chance of moving up in a smaller office. Being in Center, I also had the opportunity to be able to work in different offices. I worked in Saguache, Moffat, Crestone, Manassa, and Hooper,” Arellano said, adding that the offices had that interconnection, and he was able to go where he was needed.

For a time, Arellano was also the Postmaster in Hooper.

“While I was in Hooper, I was still in and out of Center though. I was also hired to be the interim Postmaster in Crestone for a while. I thought I might just stay in Crestone when the position for Postmaster came up in Center. Since I already knew the office because I had been in and out of there I went to Center. James Sanchez was the Postmaster at the time, and he was retiring. He encouraged me a lot through the process. I applied for the job, and I was able to take over the office, when he retired.”

Arellano said he can recall when he first got started that they didn’t have computers and that everything was done with paper.

“There were reports due, and they were all through the mail. We didn’t have computers. Then computers came in and point of service systems came in. I moved up from paper to technology,” he said.

Arellano said that after taking over the office he worked hard.

“I wanted to maintain the service that we had provided to that point. I wanted to make sure that we were providing excellent service, and that’s what we did. My responsibility was to make sure that the office was running according to postal standards, and that everything that was required of that office was done daily. My job was to make sure that all the packages, the flats, the letters, arrived where they were supposed to,” he said.

Arellano said that there were times he would get calls from other Post Offices, and calls from people about their packages and he always did his best to find out where the packages had gone and to get them where they needed to be.

“Sometimes a package would go to Texas or somewhere else, things like that just happen, but I was always helpful. I had my phone on me for work, day, and night, even when I wasn’t at work, I was willing to help everyone. My employees knew they could depend on me and knew I could depend on them,” he said.

Arellano said that throughout his years as a Postmaster he enjoyed the support that was given to him, and he enjoyed giving support to everyone. He said the people he worked with were more like family members than coworkers.

“We all worked hard together. They were dedicated and worked so hard. We always got the job done together,” he said.

Arellano’s wife, Peggy, said that when she thinks of how hard her husband has worked the thing, she is most proud of in his work was his commitment to his job and to people.

“He was always working even here at home, if anyone needed him, he was available for anything that they needed. He’s a hard worker. He made his family proud,” Peggy said.

Arellano is excited about his retirement and looking forward to traveling with his wife. Arellano said that he will miss his job but what he will miss most is the people.

“I will miss the people that I worked with. I will miss the people that I helped,” Arellano said with tear-filled eyes. “You know every morning that I drove to work I prayed for that office. I prayed for the town. I think that what happens when you do that is you become a part of that community and you take ownership for that office, and you always want to do the best that you can do for everyone. It wasn’t an easy job, but I loved it. Although I live in Alamosa, the community of Center will always be a part of me.”

Center Post Office employee Martha Medina said that Arellano was really going to be missed.

“He made so many contributions to Center, not just as the Postmaster, but also being who he was. He was always smiling, always helpful, he put his whole heart into his job and everything he did. We are happy for him, but he will be dearly missed,” Medina said.