Houston County law enforcement will lose one of it's veterans Friday.
Colonel Rueben McGhee will retire from the sheriff's office after more than 40 years of service.
In his office on Thursday morning, McGhee said he sticks to a routine. He said, "I usually get up around 4:30 every morning."
He's at his desk by 7:30 a.m., plowing through paperwork, keeping the job he's held since 1973.
McGhee was 25 then. He is 66 now and about to leave the Houston County Sheriff's Office after four decades.
He said, "I've enjoyed every bit of it."
But after graduating from Perry High School in the late 60's, McGhee hoped to wear a different uniform.
He said, "I wanted to be a state trooper. I thought state troopers were the best, and I wanted to be the best."
However, he says the state troopers didn't want him.
McGhee said, "At that time, the wouldn't hire blacks, and I forgot about it."
He became a deputy a few years later. It was the same year current sheriff, Cullen Talton, took office.
McGhee worked 19 years on the road, making a few mistakes, he said.
"I had a wreck, totaled out a car. That was one of the moments that really stuck."
He says he didn't get in trouble with the boss, but "learned from the experience."
McGhee moved through the ranks, retiring as the number three in-charge.
He said, "Never crossed my mind about being the sheriff."
He was always thankful to serve and protect, but feels it's time to pass on the honor.
McGhee said, "Well, Im tired."
After 40 years, and those 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls, who wouldn't be tired? He says Monday, he may wake-up at that hour, but his routine will change.
He said, "I'm gonna lay in bed for awhile."
McGhee says he looks forward to spending time with his grandchildren and his daughter. He says she actually beat him to retirement, hanging-up her military career last year.