Thurman Carthen has been a roadie, carpenter, plumber and electrician - but it's his voice that went viral a few weeks ago when he sang at the Galena High School graduation.

He says it is way more attention than he's comfortable with, but he agreed to be interviewed. 

As we arrive at the workshop on the high school campus, we hear the sound of a saw blade cutting wood and Carthen singing softly under his breath.

Even when he's working, Thurman Carthen has a song in his heart - and on his lips; "I've been singing since I was six years old.”

Carthen is also a great grill master, an engaging conversationalist and a very hard worker. He just finished his 13th year as a custodian for Galena High School.

Principal Tom Brown says, "Our kids see him, and they see this strong person who goes out, who has a strong work ethic, cares about them.”

"…to help them and do what I could around the school,” says Carthen. “And make sure they didn't want for anything.”

He laughs now remembering how much the students seem to want glitter - on everything.

“But then, after a while it was like 'oh, look at all the sparklies on the floor!' and I got to kinda liking it after a while.”

The genuine rapport Carthen develops with students led this year's graduating class to make a special request.

"Can Thurman sing the national anthem?” relays Principal Brown, of the conversation he had with the senior class. “I was kinda blown away. I'm like, 'really?' because usually their peers sing the national anthem out of the choir."

"You know, I couldn't turn that down, it's an honor,” Carthen remembers, still humbled by the request.

So, a few weeks ago, he did just that - and left the crowd in awe.

Thurman says the performance is a reflection of his deep patriotism and faith, but also a thank you to the people and place he's called home for more than a decade. This semester was his last at Galena High School. 

"It's been such a loving family. It's been more than I could ask for,” Carthen tells us, softly.

Thurman Carthen is now officially retired and says he'll still sing in church and may sit in with a local band every now and again.