URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — After 30 years of service, an Urbana police officer’s career is ending on a good note.
Sergeant Andy Charles worked overtime in his final week on the job for the opportunity to reach out to the community one last time on the Fourth of July.
The Champaign County Freedom Celebration marked it’s 70th anniversary Thursday morning with their annual parade. But for Charles, the festival was his 30th and last. He retired at the end of the parade.
“I’ve worked several of these parades before,” said Charles. “It’s always had a spot in my heart. I walked in it and came to it as a kid. The people of this parade, their minds are in a good place.”
Charles started as a patrol officer in 1989 and became a sergeant nine years ago. During his time on the force, his favorite part was training new officers.
“Just seeing some of the young officers come in and grow,” said Charles. “It really renewed me to work with young officers especially the last five or six years I’ve had a really great group of people to work with. It really picked me up and seeing them grow and advance really helped.”
At the end of the parade, Charles got out of his cruiser so he could greet the people he served for so long. While many were celebrating him, he was grateful for them.
“Thank you to the citizens of Urbana,” said Charles. “It was wonderful to be here, and I owe them a great debt of gratitude for allowing me to do this for 30 years.”
His impact will continue to be felt in the community as Urbana Police Chief Bryant Seraphin and Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb both got there start training under Charles.