Gastonia and Mount Holly firefighters serve with home improvement

Firefighters may have a reputation for running into burning buildings as others are running out, but a group of local men who fight fires also have jobs that fit the title of handyman.

Gastonia Fire Capt. Paul Bonnin started the Carpenter Ants Home Improvement business in 2016, around the same time he was beginning a new chapter in his life by marrying his wife, Stephanie. 

“It was time for something new and I wanted a change,” said Bonnin, who has worked in home improvement and as a firefighter for more than 20 years. 

He took the name for his business from the writings of Solomon in Proverbs 6:6. Part of that verse states: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!”

Austin Denice, Patrick Craig, Paul Bonnin and Jake Bonnin with Carpenter Ants Home Improvement pose outside a home on Dornoch Road Monday morning, Jan. 10, 2022.

The phrase works well for both the task of firefighter and doing home repairs, Bonnin said.

“It talks about how if you look at the ants, then you will see how they work as a group for a common good,” said Bonnin.

The business began with Bonnin working with his son, Jacob. Soon other firefighters joined the ranks of Carpenter Ants.

Jacob Bonnin, 30, a firefighter in Mount Holly and a volunteer with the Union Road department, enjoys following in his father’s footsteps not only in the business of fighting fires but also in home improvement.