SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Augustine "Augie" Ruiz Jr. has worked for the United States Postal Service for more than five decades.
"I can't claim that I was around when Benjamin Franklin was our first Postmaster General, but I've seen at least 17 Postmaster Generals come and go in the period of time I've been with the United States Postal Service," Ruiz says with a smile.
For Ruiz, writing letters has always held a special place in his heart.
"It's that human connection that a letter brings to you. It's much different than texting somebody or sending them an emoji because the connection between the brain, the hand the heart, they're all connected," Ruiz explains, "It shows the importance of a letter if you wrote it. It takes time and effort to write a letter."
In fact, one of his most memorable "mail moments" as he calls them involved writing letters to the woman who would become his wife.
"After a blind date in the early sixties, she got on a Greyhound bus, went back to San Francisco. I got on the train, shipped out on my submarine," Ruiz recalls, "We never saw each other again until a year and a half later, the week before she walked down the aisle to marry me. The entire courtship was through the mail."
After being discharged from the U.S. Navy, Ruiz and his wife came to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1968. He started his postal career in mail processing at the San Francisco Air Mail Facility. During the same time, he also received a Bachelor of Arts in English at San Jose State University.
"I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my writing. I found a career, and I started working as a corporate communications guy, a public information officer," Ruiz reveals.
Over the span of 37 years as a spokesperson, Ruiz has played an important role in some noteworthy events like earthquakes, wildfires, and Hurricane Katrina. He has also dedicated or been part of the dedication of hundreds of stamps as well as highlighted the achievements of other postal service workers.
"We have 600,000 or so employees. We have 10,000 in the Bay Area alone and each one of those is a unique story. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to tell other peoples stories especially million-mile drivers," Ruiz shares. "To be able to drive a million miles without a fender bender, that's worth remembering."
On October 22, 2021, he walked out the doors for the last time ending a storied career.
"It's not how much white paper I pushed out, how many press releases I got or how many stories I got, or how much ink I got," Ruiz declares, "Did I make a difference in your life and are you better off for knowing me, that's the legacy I want to keep."