a man in a blue shirt standing in front of trees

No matter how many individuals appear in the pages of each edition of Keys Weekly, there are always so many more of our community members who deserve to be recognized. In an effort to shine a spotlight on more of the incredible individuals who live and work in these islands, Keys Weekly is proud to spotlight our Neighbor of the Week feature, dedicated to celebrating a community member with each issue. This week’s neighbor retired May 1 after dedicating more than 18 years of his life to delivering mail in Marathon with the U.S. Postal Service. Throughout his career, Phil Jones witnessed the passage of time through the eyes of families on his route. What started as delivering mail to new parents transformed into watching their children grow into adults, all while traversing the same streets along U.S. 1 from 52nd Street to Tranquility Bay every day. Smith’s dedication to his route went beyond simply delivering mail; he became a familiar face, a friendly wave and a reliable presence in the lives of many. 


Former letter carrier, happily retired

How did you end up in the Keys? I lived in New Jersey. We had a business up there and we thought it’d be a good place for the kids to grow up – we’d been coming down here on vacation for quite some time. 

What is one small thing you never want to live without? I eat eggs every day, so that is one thing that is important to me. 

If you could shop for free at any store, which would you pick? Marathon Bait and Tackle. 

Do you have any strange food combos that you love? I put stewed tomatoes on my macaroni and cheese. 

What is the weirdest package you ever had to deliver? I don’t know what was in it, but it smelled really bad. It was from Korea or something, and we kept it on the loading dock until I went and delivered it. 

Which is the worst for delivery drivers in the Keys: Black Friday, the general holiday rush, or Prime Day? Is there another one we’re not thinking of? Probably Christmas because it’s the busiest. 

Would you rather: A) Every stoplight you ever come to for the rest of your life is red when you first get there, or B) Once per year for 24 hours, you turn into a loaf of bread? I like bread, but I’ll take the stoplights. 

Have the people on your route given you anything that really touched you in the past or when you retired? Anything I’ve gotten really touches me, because people take the time to think of me. Mostly, I got cards that people all signed and wrote a little note, which meant a lot to me. And when I retired, my kids got me a deep-dropping reel.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Value time. Time is my most valued thing.

Trinity Jacox
Though Hurricane Ivan kept Trinity Jacox from being born in the Keys, it couldn't keep her away for long. Growing up in Marathon, she cherished every moment of island life, amassing over 400 community service hours, serving as class president at Marathon High School and earning her associate's degree from the College of the Florida Keys. Now, as an English Editing, Writing, and Media major at Florida State University, she's excited to bring her love for writing back home through her summer internship with the Keys Weekly.