Retired Sgt. Major Richard Erickson was fired from his job with the U.S. Postal Service for taking time off to serve in the Army National Guard.
Now, the Cape Coral veteran, with a Purple Heart and three combat valor awards, has returned to work after a 20-year fight to get his job back.
“It feels great; I mean, my friends are here. We always support each other. The great people, it’s great to see them,” Erickson said. “But to come back to a company that fired you for serving your country, and is still fighting you to do the right thing that’s kind of a love-hate thing right there.”
This back-and-forth with Sgt. Major Erickson’s attorney started 20 years ago when the post office fired him while he deployed with National Guard – for being away from work for too long.
Six years ago, a federal appeals board ruled the firing violated the law and awarded him 14 years in back pay, interest, and benefits.
The post office then appealed, and the process is still not resolved.
“Not a dollar. Not a penny,” he said, “I’m a single parent of three daughters, and I went over to fight for a country, but I’m fighting overseas, and I come back, I have to fight the post office for my job just so I can support my family.”
So what changed that after all these years? Erickson isn’t sure.
He told WINK News he got a notice from the post office telling him to return to work today.
We reached out to the postal service but did not hear back by the time of publishing.