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Off-duty firefighters now available to help with your odd jobs

By Derek James

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    GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota (WCCO) — When something breaks in Kristin O’Shea’s home, she makes a call for help. And that’s sometimes led to mixed results.

“We very much rely on others to help us out,” said O’Shea. “We have had situations where I’ve been uncomfortable with other people coming into my home and so the concept of this, of firefighters, they are the first people you call in an emergency or within your community.”

O’Shea has a toilet in need of repair. This time she’s turning to Firefighter Handyman’s Jeff Piper, who has 11 years of fire service experience. His handyman experience?

“Formally, about a week and a half but I’ve been doing jobs and working construction for 25 years,” said Piper.

Piper is one of four co-founders of Firefighter Handyman which also includes Curtis Smith.

Smith launched the company to give back after retirement. He served the Robbinsdale and Golden Valley fire departments for a total of 18 years.

“It was such a wonderful experience. And I knew there were so many handy people that had great experience had great backgrounds and wanted to do other things beside just doing firefighting or their full-time job,” said Smith.

He says the goal is to give local firefighters a way to supplement their income, have flexible hours, and use their skills for the community in a different way.

“It’s so neat to see people deal with different situations where the customers are having the worst day of their lives and they’re being the most kind, the most understanding, listening hard to them. It’s pulling that into a service business,” said Smith.

Handyman Firefighters provide home repair, maintenance, installation, and assembly services.

“Most jobs we do we estimate about a hundred dollars an hour,” said Piper.

“Seventy percent of that cost goes directly to the handyman,” said Smith.

The company handles their bonding and insurance as well as project management.

As a new business, Firefighter Handyman is looking to add more men and women to the team.

“Unfortunately, the public doesn’t do searches for handyperson or handywoman. They do handyman so my wife will eventually understand why I called it that,” explained Smith.

Experienced firefighter handymen and women who can work at least 10 to 15 hours per month can apply at Firefighter Handyman’s website.

The company plans to donate 5% of its annual net income to organizations that support firefighters.

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