Every Christmas our hearts are warmed by the random acts of kindness spread throughout the Chester community. This year is no different. A retired, humble postman with few assets has embraced the Christmas spirit by giving a local couple the gift of a lifetime: A new home.
A lot of locals know the couple, who wish to remain anonymous, and have been very kind to them over the years.
They were born and raised in Chester where their family owned a small plot of land, but that was their only asset.
The couple, married for 45 years, raised three children for 41 of those years on their land in a less than 600 sq. ft. trailer. Work was minimal during those years. Money was tight but they always had spirit and love for God which made their humble abode a home.
Their home has been their castle and collections of time rest in every corner of the small space.
Currently, the husband is receiving social security and his wife just began a new job not far from where they live. The trailer home is worn; financially and physically limited, the couple is unable to make needed repairs and none have been made for quite some time.
The Humble Postman
Floyd Bradshaw worked as a rural mail carrier for the Chester Post Office for 27 years and built a healthy retirement by making a few savvy investments. Over the years he developed many friendships throughout the community, one being with the grateful couple.
This year, Mr. Bradshaw underwent heart surgery, but before the surgery, he was advised to make a will.
Still adjusting from surgery, Bradshaw is feeling much better these days. After surgery, Bradshaw spent nearly a month in rehab where he thought about the couple often.
“I should have put them in my will,” he thought, but he realized their situation was more urgent. “They can’t wait for me to die, they need it now.”
Bradshaw has known the couple and their family for many years, and he knew the couple needed a better place to live.
“I realized what I could do, and I thought to myself, I will buy them a house,” Bradshaw said. “The money was just sitting there and I could do it.”
Bradshaw has spent a lifetime managing his hard earned money. As a young teen Bradshaw thrashed wheat before working at Chester Supply Store, which later became Chester Supermarket. He worked as a surveyor for VDOT before joining the Air Force. He was sent home after 18 days due to blindness in one eye. He returned to work at the supermarket.
Then, Bradshaw was encouraged to apply to the post office for mail carrier. Passing the test, he was hired.
“I loved that job,” he said. “I had all those benefits, health insurance, regular pay raises. I was making in a day what I made in one week at the supermarket. I just loved going to work every day.”
Along with the collection of savings bonds, Bradshaw was able to sell his parents property that fronted West Hundred Road and placed the proceeds from the sale in annuities.
Bradshaw says he had more than what he needed and wanted to put it to good use.
“I wanted to do this because they needed it,” Bradshaw said. “They are good people and it is the thing for me to do.”
Bradshaw had his good buddy, Oakey Mitchell, deliver a $97,000 check to Clayton Mobile Homes for the purchase of a modular home. He was also asked him to deliver the news to the couple.
Mitchell didn’t deliver the news immediately. He waited until he and the Clayton Mobile Homes representative were assessing the land and layout for the new three-bedroom, two and a half baths, fully-furnished modular home that was to be delivered by Christmas.
“I heard someone talking outside the door and didn’t want to be bother,” said the husband. “But I recognized Oakey [Mitchell] and opened the door.”
When the husband opened the door Mitchell said: “Floyd [Bradshaw] went and bought you a home.”
The husband felt there must have been a misunderstanding and told Mitchell that he could not afford a new home. Mitchell explained to him that this is something Bradshaw wanted to do for him and his wife.
“Is this for real,” said husband. “I had to pinched myself... I just didn’t believe it.”
The couple has always wanted to buy a modular home.
“We have been over to look at it a couple of times,” he said. “I love the kitchen. I make really good rolls and no one is allowed in the kitchen when I am cooking. I can’t wait to cook in it.”
The couple said they are still pinching themselves and will not believe it until they move in. Clayton was hoping to have the home ready by Christmas but due to necessary county permits, time acquiring them and preparation of the land, it looks like it will be after the New Year before the couple can quit pinching themselves, and fresh rolls from the new kitchen will have to wait.
“It is a dream come true. I appreciate what Floyd is doing for us,” the wife said. “I thank God, our Heavenly Father and Floyd. The one upstairs is watching over us. Floyd is one of God’s angels.”