When Marty Friedrich took over the keys to the Perham United States Post Office in August of 2007, he thought he would be settling in for a few years--and eventually retiring.
But the USPS offered him an early retirement package he couldn't refuse--so Friedrich served his last day as a "man of letters" Jan. 2.
"The postal service is downsizing; there is a hiring freeze, and they are offering a lot of early outs," said Friedrich, who said he feels fortunate to have worked 31 years for the USPS.
"Also, I had kidney cancer three years ago, and that sort of helps you make a decision," he added. Friedrich had one of his kidneys removed.
A Henning native and graduate of Henning High School, Friedrich took a part-time position at the Henning Post Office --not long after his three-year stint in the military, and completing a two-year accounting degree at the Wadena technical school.
From?Henning, where he served from 1980-85, Friedrich went to the New York Mills Post Office until 1990.
He was promoted to Postmaster in 1990, serving in Clitherall until 1996.
Then, he settled in for ten years as Postmaster in Deer Creek.
Temporary, "officer in charge" positions, in Ottertail and in Frazee, were offered and Friedrich worked in those capacities until taking the full time Postmaster position in Perham.
"I planned on staying here in Perham for a few years. The people are great--friendly, and they are quick to accept you as part of the community," said Friedrich.
"Perham is one of the few towns in the whole area that is growing, and the growth has been tremendous, even over the year-and-a-half that I've been here," he said.
Taking over in Perham is Darren Itzen, from the Lake Park Post Office. He will be serving as "officer in charge" until a permanent replacement is selected for the Perham P.O.