By Jill Penley
After spending 35 years with the U.S. Postal Service including 23 years as Postmaster in various locations, Johnson County’s Frank Arnold continues to give back to the “neighbors” he came to love by serving on several local boards and staying active in the community. One of his many hats involves being a “Road Runner.”
“Each Shrine Temple has a special unit of transporters called the Road Runners,” explains Arnold, who has been a member of the Mountain City Taylorsville Lodge #243 for 35 years and a Road Runner for the past two. “We transport children and their families back and forth from the Shriners hospitals.”
Road Runners have driven millions of miles bringing children to Shriners Hospitals for Children. For each trip, they pick up a child and their family, drive them to the hospital for treatment, and then return with them back home all at no cost to the family. Arnold has personally transported children to Greeneville, South Carolina, and Cincinnati, Ohio for treatment.
”This is probably the most fulfilling thing that I’ve ever done,” said Arnold, “to witness the care and love that the staff at these hospitals administer to these children.”
Shriners Hospitals for Children serve children who need specialized care in the areas of orthopedics, burn care, spinal cord injury, cleft lip, and palate.
In addition to serving as a Shriner, Arnold serves on the Johnson County Community Hospital Board, the Doe Mountain Board of Authority, and the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.
He also considers himself an avid outdoorsman. “I love hunting, fishing and working in the yard,” explains Arnold, “anything that gets me out of the house.”
Before his retirement in April of 2012, Arnold served as postmaster, or acting postmaster, at seven different postal locations including Mountain City, Butler, Unicoi, Piney Flats, Irwin, Mountain Home and Cosby,
Tennessee. As with anyone working with the public for an extended period, Arnold has experienced many humorous moments. One particular incident involving his old boss, Danny Cunningham, stands out to Arnold.
“We had a gentleman come into the post office demanding to see the postmaster” he recalls. “I was a supervisor at this time, so I ask him what it was about, and what his name was. He told me I didn’t need to know that, he wanted to see the postmaster. I told him to wait there and that I would get the postmaster for him. I went into Danny’s office and told him there was a gentleman there to see the postmaster. Danny asked me what he wanted. I told him he would not tell me; he wanted to see the postmaster.
So Danny goes out front and introduces himself as the postmaster and asked the gentleman what he wanted. He told Danny (the postmaster) that he wanted him to do something about that mail carrier that was scattering his mail all over the county. Danny asked him what his name was and what his address was? He looked straight at Danny and told him he was the ‘Postmaster’ and he should know what his name was and what his address was and walked out. That was the last we saw of him.”
Arnold adds: “You can’t make up stuff like that.”