WAKEFIELD The Wakefield post office was renamed Friday for William H. Avery, a former Kansas governor and congressman.
Avery, 89, accepted the honor with not one, but three, separate trips to the podium.
"I am up here to not make speeches," he joked, although he managed to get in a few remarks while seated alongside Gov. Bill Graves, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Jerry Moran.
Avery served from 1965 to 1967 as the 37th governor of Kansas, after 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Moran, who introduced the legislation to name the post office for Avery, said only one other post office in Kansas is named for an individual. The one in Garden City bears the name of Clifford Hope, who served in the House from 1927 to 1957.
Graves and Roberts both described Avery as a political role model for them as young men.
"He is the godfather of this business," Roberts said.
"My dad is my role model in my life and career, and I know Avery has been a role model for my dad," said Graves.
Avery said he was grateful that he was being honored in his hometown, and Wakefield Mayor Ed Hardy remarked, "When people become celebrities, they soon forget where they came from, and Bill did not forget his friends here."
The mayor said Friday had been proclaimed William Avery Day in the Clay County town.
"Even though he's a politician, we appreciate him for putting our little town on the map," Wakefield resident Walter Mugler said with a smile.