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Maintenance division employee honored for 45 years of service to Florence

July 24, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – For the past 45 years, Adgie Kelly has served the city of Florence’s equipment maintenance division.

Kelly was recently honored by the Florence City Council for his years of service to the city.

“It feels great [to be honored],” Kelly said. “That’s let others know that the city is not a bad place to work. It’s a good place to work, and that’s what’s got me through. Also, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, it’s what you make out if it. I never thought in my lifetime I would be here for 45 years or be in the position that I am for 45 years.”

Kelly said he had no interest in working for the city before he started in 1973.

“I had a friend, he was from Bennettsville, South Carolina; I went to Florence-Darlington Tech,” Kelly said. “I went for two years starting in ’69, and then I moved in with him to keep from driving back and forth [to his hometown of Bennettsville]. He was already working for the city.”

At Florence-Darlington Technical College, Kelly was studying to be a diesel mechanic.

One day, he received a letter from Florence City Manager Powell Black asking for good diesel mechanics. Kelly turned down the city manager’s overtures.

“I said I didn’t want to work for no city, ‘cause I’m from a little ol’ small town,” Kelly said. “So, I came and the city manager interviewed me. We went down to the old public works lot which is on Church Street, and he showed me around.”

Kelly added that he drove the city manager to the lot in a Chevrolet he was driving at the time.

Eventually, thanks to persistence from Black and his then-girlfriend and now-wife Marie, Kelly took the job. Kelly and Marie had two sons and three grandchildren.

Marie attended the city council meeting with church friends when Kelly was honored. He gave credit to Marie for pushing him to go further in life.

Kelly originally intended to work for the city for a couple of years before moving on to the railroad.

“It never happened,” Kelly said. “I stayed forever.”

In 1973, when he was 23 years old, Kelly started working for the city as a diesel mechanic.

Kelly worked as a diesel mechanic from 1973-1977. He was made a shop foreman in 1977 until around 1984. He became the shop supervisor and then the equipment maintenance manager. Kelly continues to work on vehicles.

“For one thing, I enjoy doing what I was doing,” Kelly said last week at the city’s public works building. “My philosophy was if man made it, I could fix it, and I never gave up. Plus, since I attend church, I have prayer.”

Kelly attends the Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

He has no immediate plans to retire, because he remains in good health.

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