‘Smokey’ returns to his downtown perch

It was the long-time mailman’s first trip since 2014 accident.

Fountain on Main owner Geoff Norman got a surprise visit during his restaurant’s 12th anniversary celebration Thursday — a visit from a downtown fixture.

Cephas “Smokey” Stover, a Springfield postman who was a constant patron of the Springfield restaurant before a car struck him while on his mail route seven months ago, made his first downtown appearance since being injured.

Stover has worked for the post office for 57 years, walking a downtown route for the last 25. The restaurant was a regular stop on his route.

“It was just about the middle of my route, which made it convenient,” Stover said. “I stopped in every day for lunch.”

Stover was hit by a car at the corner of North Spring and East Main streets last November.

“At 76 years old, he’s not just lucky to be alive, it’s a miracle that he is alive,” said Monte Richard, a fellow restaurant patron and the one who brought Stover back to his Fountain friends Thursday.

“I would visit him at least once a week at the nursing home,” Richard said.

Stover sat in his wheelchair at a table eating lunch, chatting with friends and posing for photos. Many people inquired about Stover’s condition and how he was doing.

Kylene Norman, Geoff Norman’s mother, was one person who kept close tabs on him.

“I think it’s great; Kylene called and asked about me every day,” Stover said. “I would like to thank everybody that’s been involved with me since the wreck.”

Jumping from customer to customer, making sure everybody got their orders, Geoff Norman stopped long enough to talk about Stover.

“He would eat here 50 out of 52 weeks a year. If he wasn’t here three days a week it was five days,” he said.

The day of the accident, Stover was asked by one of the paramedics how long he had been a letter carrier.

“Fifty seven years and one day too long,” Stover said.

Classic Smokey!

Stover is still working on his recovery, but plans on getting back to his route as soon as he can. When he had gotten to Miami Valley Hospital the day of the accident, “I told them I was going to come out of here in the same shape I was before the accident,” Stover said.

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