DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Ray Fregia Jr., Owner and President of Danville’s Courtesy Ford Dealership celebrated his 20th year on the job on Thursday.

The dealership held a small event with Ford executives and longtime employees. It was all to congratulate Fregia on the two-decade mark of his career.

Fregia started his career in Oswego as a car salesman under his father. He worked there for six years until 2003 when a Ford representative offered him the chance to do more. His journey then brought him to Danville.

“My dad kind of gave me the green light: ‘Hey, you know, I taught you how to fish. Now it’s time for you to go fish yourself,” Fregia said. “And then I came out here 20 years ago. I was a scared young man. And what happened is that everybody embraced me. The community embraced me, and now I’m forever grateful for Danville and the area.”

Growing up, he moved around from Indiana to Michigan, to Seattle. However, since coming to Danville, it’s become home.

“I moved around so much. Being here in Danville, it’s my home, you know,” Fregia said. “I don’t have friends that I’ve had for 20 years because I went to the same elementary, high school, and stuff like this. So this is truly my home, and I treat this as my home.”

As his business grew over the years, so did the community. His goal is to help other minority entrepreneurs flourish. 

“I’ve gone on boards and advocated for them, because sometimes they’re just someone like me who’s just sitting in a store selling cars, who has an aptitude to do more,” Fregia said. “So I just get on boards and try to get people to see other people. You know what I mean? Get them in that country club, is kind of what my goal is.”

Now, exactly twenty years later, Ford executives are celebrating his accomplishments at the dealership surrounded by his team. 

“They would say, ‘Hey, let’s have a celebration in Chicago.’ Like, oh, no, we’re having it right in the dealership,” Fregia said. “I want you to meet all my people. I want to see all the people who’ve supported Ford all over the years. I want you to come in contact with them. So it means everything for them to be here today.”

This wasn’t the only milestone celebrated on Thursday.  It was also the 25th anniversary of Courtesy Ford being open in Danville.