Rafael Chaverri, of Amsterdam, does much more than deliver mail to local residents. He delivers cheer.

Many neighbors along his route have come to love and respect Rafael, a Costa Rican native who came to America at age 18 and has been delivering mail for the past 10 years. He, like all mail carriers, goes to work every day, no matter the weather's extreme heat or, like this time of year, extreme cold.

He also pays extra attention to elderly residents along his route and has become a friend to many neighborhood children.

As part of the “Hometown Heroes” series, we’ve partnered with County Waste, Latham Ford, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region and Awards by Walsh to celebrate local unsung heroes for their good deeds and honorable work.

We asked Rafael a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What inspires you?

A: I come from a family of four boys and our dad passed away at a young age, seeing my mother working double shifts at the hospital as an obstetrician to provide for our family and not missing a day, plus working all the overtime that she could, inspired me to be the best I could in my own job, she set a good for me and I am trying to do the same for my family.

Q: What's the most rewarding thing about what you do?

A: It would be the relationship that I have built with my customers. Working for the postal service, you get to work in different parts of the city and when you get moved from one area to another one, you lose contact with them. But when you get to see your old customers at the grocery store, shops, restaurants, etc. and they remember you and take a time to talk with you is very rewarding for me.

Q: What are some challenges?

A: I will have to say that the worst challenge is the weather conditions. I walk about 10 miles a day for 6 to 7 hours: hot summers, rainy days and cold weather conditions are very tough but they say we are a different breed of people 'cause not everybody would like to work with what Mother Nature has to offer you every single day!

Q: Do you consider yourself a hero? Why or why not?

A: Somewhat yes and some what no I consider myself a hero, the way my customers treat me when they get that letter or package they have been waiting for, makes me feel like their hero, kids & the elderly make me feel like a hero cause they respect me a lot and look forward to see me everyday; I think it is my job and have to do it to the best of my capabilities like my Mother always said, respecting people, being honest and humble, that is why I don't consider myself a hero.