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Breakfast with Herb & Mike Carpenter

Updated: May 6

Tuesday breakfast. Mike ordered his usual, black coffee, apple juice and an English muffin with peanut butter; Herb ordered his current favorite — hash and eggs. They talked about their recent family get-together and commiserated about the state of the world. Then it was time to get down to what they usually talk about at breakfast.

Mike: “Tell me about some of the projects you have done over the years. How did you know how to build the home we all grew up in?”

Herb: “I didn’t, but I had a terrific mentor. When I was a young police officer, I worked the night shift. That meant my beat was the entire city. One evening I stopped into a business in the south end and met a man who helped to shape my life. His name was Frank Lagoy. He was a successful contractor — FALCO Construction — who worked all over the Adirondacks. In addition to his construction business, he had a passion for tropical fish. When we met, he was setting up a retail tropical fish store in a building he owned on South Platt Street across from the fire station.

I showed an interest in the fish and he offered me a part-time job cleaning the aquariums. We became friends. I traveled with him often to purchase the fish and supplies.

I also traveled around the North Country to job sites with him. I’d never done any type of construction. I’d never even swung a hammer. I guess he saw potential in me because he began to show me how to do things and he encouraged me, telling me I could do what I didn’t think I could. That gave me confidence.

When I decided to build our family home, Frank helped me in so many ways. He would stop by and give me advice. He lent me tools I couldn’t afford to buy. It was what he taught me that helped me build our home and later our family camp on Point au Roche.

Following my police retirement, the skills Frank taught me allowed me to purchase and remodel abandoned property on the river on Bridge Street and later on the Base.”

Mike: “In 1999, when I came to work with you, we had outgrown the space on Bridge Street and our next building on McDonough Street. When we came to the Base that year to look at a former dining hall, my thought was, ‘Not a chance,’ but you saw potential. How do you do that? How do you see beyond the ugliness of an old building and have a vision?”

Herb: “I build a picture in my mind of what I want and evaluate whether I have the skills and the resources to make it happen.”

Mike: “You had a connection to that dining hall,

didn’t you?”

Herb: “Yes. When I first came to the Base in 1957, I lived in a barracks that was located on the property we now own. I ate and did KP (kitchen police) in that dining hall. In fact, the room where I washed dishes became my office and is now your office.”

Mike: “That’s incredible. When we moved in in 2000 you built an aquarium in the north wall of your office.

Was that a connection to your early experiences with Frank Lagoy.”

Herb: “It was. I built a 200-gallon marine aquarium that was my pride and joy. My interest in tropical fish and aquariums has continued throughout my life. I love the beauty and the science of it all.”

Mike: “Your aquarium was amazing. In this issue of Strictly Business that covers the offices and special spaces of local business people, your story brings an important part of your life full circle. I’m proud of

you Dad.”

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