Ambrose James says he has been working since he was 7 or 8 years old, when he started raking leaves. He's 61 now.
And all of his working life has been spent in Cass County.
"People here have taken care of me," he said, laughing because he knows he's teasing. A handyman takes care of others, and James has done so to earn his living without the benefit of advertising.
The reason he is successful is that he's versatile and efficient. If on a job, he may be at work at 5 a.m. or stay until the middle of the night.
James said he has always lived in Cass County, but he doesn't consider that a drawback. He was born here, reared by a great aunt named Mattie White, and only his service in the National Guard has taken him away occasionally.
He sings in the Kildare Male Chorus, a group that also for 30 years has given its service to aid others, singing without charge for churches or families in need—and sometimes dipping into their own dues to make a contribution.
James is married to Helen James and together they have two children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
His business, like his person, is clear and simple. His business card reads "A&L James Labor."
The "L" is for his son LaRoderick., who likely is a lot like his dad.