Things are different today at the Soldotna Post Office. The colorful Tie Guy, who transitioned to Suspenderman in 2005 when his ties were found to not conform to official Postal uniform criteria. "There were no regulations on suspenders, so I started collecting and wearing colorful suspender sets," explained Adams, who retired May 1st after more than 20 years of government service. "It feels different for me as well. This is my first week of retirement and quite honestly it's kind of strange and different for me, but I'm sure I'll adjust quite easily," laughed Adams, returning to the Post Office for his mail and an interview with the Dispatch.
The popular Soldotna Postal Clerk became known as the Tie Guy because of his totally unique tie collection that had been donated to him from friends and patrons from all over the world. Adams collection was so extensive and meaningful to him that at one time he displayed them as drapes in his living room rather than hanging them in a closet.
"The tie thing began when I first started working at the window 17 years ago when the Post Office was at that time selling ties with postage stamps on them. I bought them and started wearing them and even though they were not regulation uniform, the people enjoyed seeing them and it snow balled from there and all of a sudden I started receiving ties from customers. I'll never forget the first tie, it was a Dr. Seuss tie and it'll always be very special to me. Then I started receiving ties from all over the world as people from Soldotna would go on vacation and see an outlandish or ridiculous tie somewhere at a foreign shop and bingo the next thing I know I find a tie sitting on my counter when I come back from lunch and I don't even know who they are from. I've really enjoyed it and I've even received ties in the mail just addressed to the Tie Guy, Soldotna Alaska Post Office and I don't know who they're from, they were just people who had come into the Post Office and joined in the fun, because I actually would wear the ties at work, so after the official notice came down I did some research and kept the tradition going with suspenders."
As Steve reflected on his Postal career however, it wasn't the ties and suspenders that he remembered the most, "They were fun but more important than the neck ties was my involvement in the selling of breast cancer stamps. That's a stamp that the Postal Service started selling to the public about twelve years ago to increase awareness of breast cancer and in those years there have been four years where there was an actual contest for window clerks to sell those stamps and all four of those years I was the top seller of breast cancer stamps right here in Soldotna for the entire State of Alaska and two years ago the fourth year I did it I came in tenth among all the window clerks in the United States for sales of breast cancer stamps and I would say that is my biggest accomplishment with the Postal Service and the one which I am most proud," said Adams.
The community will miss Steve far beyond his happy demeanor at the Post Office, for nearly 17 years he was a participant of local events from birthday parties to weddings and funerals and the Relay for Life survivor lap where he would lead the march with his authentic and emotionally charged Bag Pipe playing. "We probably did the Relay seven or eight years in a row and I have no count of the other events which the private parties were the most fun because they were usually a surprise for the person the party was for. The last one I recall was for Grandma Ellington's 100 birthday celebration at Birch Ridge Golf Course and that was pure fun for me," he recalled. Less than a month from now the Adams family will be loading up their pick-up truck with the license plate "X-TieGuy" and heading down the highway to the sunshine state of Ft. Myers, Florida. "It's a big adventure for my wife and me. We are selling everything we own and moving to Florida where my wife can pursue a career with her new accounting degree. We may be back to visit when we get hungry for some salmon or snow," said Adams.