After 38 years and nine months of dedicated service, Joey Cota is resigning. He submitted his resignation on Sept. 4, with Friday as his last day at the Benson Post Office.

“It was time,” said Cota, who at 69, says he is getting tired and deserves to retire. “Now that I’ve given the post office my notice, I’m looking forward to retirement. I have a lot of projects I want to get done and I’m ready to get started. I’m going to miss my co-workers and seeing the customers who come in here regularly, but I know where to find them,” he smiled.

Born and raised in Benson, Cota’s family has deep roots in the area. His father, also a Benson native, was born in 1910 when Arizona was still a territory, two years before statehood. Cota was educated in the Benson School District and is a 1962 Benson High School graduate. After graduating, he served five years in the U.S. Navy, where he spent two tours in Vietnam, from 1964 through 1966. Prior to starting his position at the Benson Post Office, he worked at Apache Nitrogen for six years.  

With the title of Distribution Window Clerk, which is equivalent to a sales associate, Cota says he has enjoyed his career as a postal worker. He has an old photograph of himself when he was 21 years old, which he has proudly displayed on the wall at his work window. Along the side of the photo is the question, “Do you know this guy?” “I looked a lot different back then,” he laughed. “People come in here and have no idea that’s me. I like watching the surprised looks on their faces when I tell them.”

Cota has two grown daughters, Marica Cota, who lives in Tucson and Alicia Dalmolin, who lives in Santan Valley, in the Phoenix area.  

“Joey is such a fixture here,” said Scott Carey, postmaster for the Benson Post Office. “He has 38 plus years of loyal service, where he’s served the post office in an outstanding fashion. He will be sorely missed, but at 69, everyone deserves to start the next chapter in their lives. And we’re excited for Joey to start his.”

Carey expects to field a lot of questions about Cota’s whereabouts when he first leaves. “Even now, when Joey is on his lunch break, the public wants to know where he is,” Carey said. “Some of them worry about him and want to make sure he’s OK. Now when people come in and ask, we can say he’s retired, not at lunch.”

During his career, Joey has worked under eight postmasters, Carey said. “I think that’s incredible.”

The community is invited to stop by the post office on Friday between 10 a.m. and noon for a piece of cake and to wish the longtime employee well on his last day of service.

“I know he deserves to retire, but I hate to see him leave,” Carey said. “He’s such a reliable, hard working employee and everyone likes him. He’s going to be sorely missed around here.”

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