The first female letter carrier in Rowan County is now a proud member of the Duke-MURDOCK Study, as well as the winner of the Refer-A-Friend Raffle and a $50 prize.
Iola Parker of China Grove joined the MURDOCK Study about the same time that she retired from the U.S. Postal Service after a career that spanned 37 years.
“I believe in healthy eating, and I’m very interested in healthy aging,” said Parker, who retired in May 2015. “I’m mindful of eating and exercise, and I hope my information will help someone down the line.”
Parker got plenty of exercise as a letter carrier, walking eight miles every day and delivering mail to about 550 addresses in China Grove. She was bitten by a dog once, and sometimes the weather — especially when it was bitterly cold — made her wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
But overall, the job was a joy, Parker said, and she’s still recognized all over town. She began delivering mail when she was 35 years old because she thought it was wonderful to be paid to exercise, and she knew that she would earn a fair wage from the government.
Previously, in a private sector job, she learned that she was earning a fraction of what her male coworkers did, even those with less education and less experience.
In the past year, Parker’s had both knees replaced, but she and her husband, Wendell Parker, walk three miles a day. When Iola Parker learned that she’d won the Refer-A-Friend Raffle for referring her husband to the MURDOCK Study, she chose a Marshall’s gift card worth $50 as her prize.