Council Grove man could be longest serving news carrier in the state

This year the Council Grove Republican newspaper celebrated 150 year, for one third of that time Tom Essington has been delivering newspapers for the Emporia Ga
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 7:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - This year the Council Grove Republican newspaper celebrated 150 year, for one third of that time Tom Essington has been delivering newspapers for the Emporia Gazette, the Shoppers Publication and now the Republican.

Essington started at the age of 13 and has been committed everyday since.

“I get up usually at nine and get my breakfast and everything then I go down to paper routes about 11 and get my papers and fold them, then then I eat here then start my route about 12:30pm,” he says.

Essington’s sister says he had a lot of help along the way with an old teacher, Elda May burke, lending an especially helpful hand.

“She knew that he had skills that would be useful and so she saw that one of Tom’s skills was memorization. He was very good at memorizing things that he likes in and that made him a very natural person to do a paper route because you have to memorize which houses to go to and where the people want their papers and people really appreciated that you delivered their papers where they wanted it. If they wanted it right at their door, if they wanted it on a hook or wherever they would like to have it,” says Frese.

In 1976 Essington started his small business, Tom’s Errand Service.

Some of his customers have been the Morris County Hospital, the Council Grove and Morris County Chamber of Commerce, TCT, and the Cottage House.

“He is very tasked oriented and he doesn’t get distracted by other things, he pretty much sticks with what he’s supposed to do so when when he does errands for people going to the grocery store or going to the bank or paying bills for them for their utilities. He gets that job done. He can do about six, seven or ten errands at a time and gets them all accomplished,” says Frese.

Essington’s is a local celebrity in the town being selected Grand Marshall for the Washunga Days Parade and being honored at many more..

He was even named a Council Grove/Morris County convention and visitors bureau goodwill ambassador in 1997...

His customers have become friends -- providing shelter during inclement weather and leaving out water during the summer and even getting gifts during Christmas...

“Vickey Mccray always leaves a snack everyday, she leaves water, she leaves pops an she leaves different snacks,” says Essington.

Through snowstorms and heatwaves Essington still gets his work done walking more miles in a day than the average American.

“We had thought maybe he was going about six miles each time he did the route because when we drove it that’s what it seemed like, but when we put the GPS on him the by the time he went back and forth to people’s doors he was putting on 10 miles every days, so he gets to eat what he likes pretty much. So if he’s gonna walk ten miles a day we don’t worry about how many calories he’s eating,” Frese says.

And all that walking couldn’t be possible without his trusty sidekicks.

“I have good boots,” says Essington.

And it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon.