Postmaster has show dogs, rides motorcycles
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Aug 07, 2013 | 3587 views |  0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Post office employee Keith Ball conducts some business with Postmaster Joey Johnson. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
Post office employee Keith Ball conducts some business with Postmaster Joey Johnson. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
Ten years ago Joey Johnson had never been to Piedmont. Now, he comes here five - sometimes six - times a week.

He became acquainted with Piedmont when he started working as the OIC (officer in charge) for the past Postmaster Dorris Webb when she was on leave. He knew -- in fact he told Mrs. Webb -- that he wanted to be postmaster when she retired.

His wish came true last year when he became postmaster in Piedmont. Johnson and Webb worked together at the Anniston post office years earlier. After leaving Fort McClellan EMS, Johnson went to work for the U.S. Postal Service in Anniston in 1994 as a city carrier. He was appointed a supervisor in 1998 by then Postmaster Butch Taylor.

After graduating from Oxford High School, Johnson completed paramedic school at Gadsden State Junior College in 1980 and holds a business degree from Jacksonville state University.

He was one of the first paid paramedics working in Anniston at the time and worked for the Anniston Rescue Squad from 1978-85. In 1985 he was voted Paramedic of The Year. Johnson went to work at Fort McClellan from 1985-94. He worked at Noble Army Hospital as a paramedic.

He became a Postmaster, after working as a city carrier from 1994-98. He moved up to the supervisor ranks in the Anniston and Jacksonville post offices. Johnson started working on becoming a Postmaster by taking assignments as an OIC (officer in charge) in other post offices around the state.

“I thought Piedmont was the neatest little town the first time I saw it,” he said. “It was Halloween and they had blocked off the streets for children to trick or treat. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy Piedmont. When you come from different post offices like I did, you know when you find the right one.”

Johnson has turned down two other positions because he doesn’t want to leave Piedmont.

“This is where I’ll be when I retire,” said Johnson. “I have 29 years in with the federal government, but I’m not tired yet. I enjoy the work. If the day comes when I no longer enjoy it, I’ll retire.”

Johnson was born in Miami. His father was a supervisor with Chastain Roberts and was transferred to the Oxford facility when Johnson was a child. His father, the late Charles Johnson, lived in Piedmont five years. He was living here when he died five years ago. His mother, Jane Johnson, lived in Piedmont at that time but now lives in Talladega.

Because of his father, Johnson grew up in customer service. That was his father’s career and the younger Johnson always knew it would be his.

“My father worked in grocery stores most of his life,” said Johnson. “When I was a kid, I guess about 15, I started working in them, and I’ve been working in customer service all my life.”

Johnson and his wife, the former Debra Character, a veterinarian technician at the Greenbrier Animal Clinic in Anniston, have two children. Jeremiah is a computer technician in Orlando, and Heather Shatus teaches in White Plains. She and her husband, Jonathan, have a 1-year-old son, Parker.

Johnson likes spending time with Parker and takes most of the blame for spoiling him.

“I’m there with him long enough to get him all riled up and send him home to mama and let her deal with it,” he said. “I get the good times; she gets the bad times”

The Johnsons have show dogs, Whippets, that they show them all over the Southeast.

“My wife handles the dogs,” said Johnson. “She’s the one who goes into the ring with them and shows them to the judges. You don’t see many of these dogs in Alabama. You basically have three types: greyhounds, who stand about to your waist, whippets’ whose shoulders come to about your knees, and Italian greyhounds come closer to mid calf. Pound for pound Whippets are some of the fastest dogs on the planet.”

The Johnson dogs have brought home about 15 championship titles.

When he’s not at the post office, spoiling Parker, watching football games, or showing dogs, Johnson is often on his motorcycle.

“I ride at my own leisure,” he said. “I’ll ride with friends to Chattanooga or other places, just to get out on the weekend. My week is pretty much tied up, so I ride when I can.”

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Postmaster has show dogs, rides motorcycles by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star

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