ROANOKE, Va. – A local milkman is getting ready to make his final delivery, after more than 60 years on the job.
Charlie Meador will celebrate retiring from United Dairy Friday.
He’s up before the sun every day delivering milk, and he's been doing it since 1955.
He started out dipping ice cream when he was just 16 years old.
"Then, on a 6 cent cone of ice cream, you'd get about a pint. Now you know what you get, well, for 6 cents you don't get nothing," Meador said.
He's spent most of his career running the same route, delivering to schools, restaurants and stores in Roanoke County.
"If they have a problem, they call me... After I got a cellphone," Meador said.
Meador's seen his fair share of changes since starting work well over half a century ago.
"I had a little pad that I wrote the order on with a pencil and then, of course, you had an adding machine, well eventually, they came out with the calculator," Meador said.
Meador's had to get used to new technology, but it didn't take long for customers to get used to him. With each carton, he's made connections. Kathy Stackpole, cafeteria nutrition manager at Bonsack Elementary School, is just one of those. She's worked with Meador for 13 years.
"I remember him coming through the door with all that milk and for such a little guy, he can surely push the milk around," Stackpole said.
She said Meador comes in every morning with a smile and a story. That’s something she'll miss when he retires on Friday.
"He means a lot. He's like my grandfather," Stackpole said.
While Meador said he'll miss them too, he's decided it's finally time to hang up the pail.
"This Friday, I’ll be 79, so I may as well enjoy a few years and hopefully my money will hold out," Meador said.
The impact he's made will certainly hold out, as he leaves behind some milk, a smile and a little something that everyone can learn from.
"They say, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’ Well I don't know what I’m going to do. I'm going to do the best I can with what I got," Meador said.