Carpenter heads south to repair homes

Published 5:18 pm Saturday, January 28, 2006

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - A classified ad in the Niles Daily Star will be taking one young man south to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Michael Comstock was looking to put his carpentry skills to work when his ad was noticed by a company which furnishes workers from all over the United States, following disasters.
Born in Saginaw, Comstock, 31, has been in Niles since August of last year.
The largest home he has worked on was in Traverse City and was 10,000 square feet. He and the other workers need Nextel phones to keep in touch, or their time would have been spent finding each other, he added. “It was a four million dollar property with a movie theatre in the basement.
His learning to work with his hands began when he was 16. His father twice traveled back and forth across the country, hitchhiking, carrying his Skil saw on his back.
For his own trip south, Comstock is gathering his saw, along with his hammer, nail gun and other hand tools. “They are all packed in a bag which will be checked. I will be bringing sweatpants and tennis shoes.”
The company provides transportation with a one week commitment. Once there he will stay in a 3,000 square foot office building, which survived the hurricane, and has been converted into a motel. The workers are given an additional $20 a day.
He expects he will be mainly doing repairs to homes. His skills in drywall, painting and roofing will be brought into play, though he is hoping he will get to do more drywall than roofs. His favorite job is framing, putting up the stick walls, doors and windows.
When he knows whether the company delivers what it promises, he just might sign up for additional weeks and become a larger part of the massive effort of rebuilding of the area around New Orleans.