Friday was a milestone for a longtime Republic Services employee.
Aselmo "Chemo" Garcia collected more than trash in his 30 years at Republic Services in Athens. He picked up a lot of friends and memories during his stay.
On Friday, his co-workers gathered one last time to wish him the best on his retirement from the company. The met outside in the sunshine to reminisce and have some cake and refreshments.
"The people I worked with every day always helped and supported me," Garcia said. "I thank them very much. I will miss everybody."
At a little past 2:30 p.m., Garcia returned from the Precinct 4 headquarters in the Laurie area, made his final turn off U.S. Highway 175 as Republic employees applauded. The entry was lined with hand made signs congratulating Garcia on his career with the company. All that was left was to turn in his paperwork for the last time.
"Chemo has been great employee," James Murphy, general manager of Republic Services said. "Republic and the community will miss him, but I wish him well and hope he and his family enjoy retirement."
Garcia said he also had a good relationship with the people he met in the community, but will enjoy having extra time for his home life.
"I'll enjoy the life with my wife," Garcia said.
The Athens Republic location has other workers who have logged several years on the job.
The company is an industry leader in recycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal. The big blue trucks are well known in Henderson County and the Athens area.
According to Republic, every year, Americans create 251 million tons of trash. About 164 million of those tons end up in landfills. The best way to decrease that amount is through recycling services.