JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local man has a lot to celebrate Monday night. He began his career cleaning cars, but tonight he's retiring as a trailblazer in the automotive industry.
After nearly a half-century, there is reason to celebrate the accomplishments of one man at Brumos Motor Cars.
Andy Chapman is a trailblazer of sorts.
[SLIDESHOW: BRUMOS TECH RETIRES AFTER 45 YEARS
"They let me know the struggles weren't going to be easy but they would be behind me 100 percent," said Chapman.
Everyone who gathered for his surprise retirement party knows how far he's come after 45 years with the same company.
"It's been a wonderful 45 years," said Chapman. "Matter of fact, I started out with the owners of the company. They saw that I had a wish list, a goal that I wanted to set in life and they took me on."
As an African-American in the 1960s, he started at the bottom and worked his way up.
"The only job I could get at that given time was a porter job, wasn't no such thing as minorities working on Mercedes at that given time," said Chapman. "The owners of the company seen an interest, knew what I wanted, and they gave me a shot at it, and I done well at it."
Chapman became an award-winning technician with Brumos and he will leave it with nothing but fond memories.
"People ask me right now today how did you manage to stay so long. I say, 'Because my faith in God, that's what took me through it,'" he said.
Chapman is also a veteran. He spent three years in the military after graduating from Stanton in 1959.