Former postmaster honored by church

Published 11:41 pm Thursday, February 26, 2015

Second Missionary Baptist Church in Selma finds a way to give back to a member of the congregation during Black History Month each year by awarding a particular member with the “Living Legend” award.

The 2015 recipient of the award is James A. Howard, a long time postmaster with the U.S. Postal Service in Selma. He was presented with the “Living Legend” award Sunday during the church’s program.

“It’s an honor to receive any [award] of this magnitude,” Howard said. “It let’s you know that someone out there really feels like you contributed to society.”

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He was postmaster in Selma for 30 years before retiring on Jan 2 of this year.

“I started out here, and I ended up coming back here,” Howward said. “I really, really enjoyed my job … and I really miss it as well.”

Howard is what people consider a people person, always looking out for others and worked for the betterment of others in the community. Alongside working at the Postal Service, Howard also taught some classes at Selma University and Concordia College Alabama.

“He is a humble guy. Not with just his employees that he has worked [with], anybody … can ask him to do anything to help them and he’s that type of guy that will do it,” said Val Ridgeway Walters, a member of Second Missionary Baptist Church.

When giving the award, the church looks for people that shine a positive light on Selma and the area.

“We always try to find someone who has given to the community,” Walters said. “We decided to honor him because he’s been Post Master [for 30 years]. There’s so many that he trained … [and] he has given back to his community.”

Howard said he was humbled and a little surprised to receive the award.

“I was [surprised]. I was not expecting anything,” Howard said. “I really tried to do a good job and that’s what makes it so gratifying, the fact that someone else thanks you [for] doing well.”

Although Howard has left his job with the Postal Service, his memories and experiences will stay with him forever.

“[Working at the Postal Service] meant everything. It was more like a hobby than a job, because I truly enjoyed my job,” Howard said. “I’ll admit I had a good career. I gave it my all. I had a passion for what I did.”