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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 1 year ago

Baldwin Park resident Mike Allsup enjoys being a helpful neighborhood handyman

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Allsup realized years ago he loved solving problems, even if they are not his own. As long as he can remember, Allsup has helped neighbors with various repairs — from broken sprinkler heads and fences to skateboards and flat bike tires.
by: Tim Freed Associate Editor

You could talk about it, or you could do something about it. 

That’s the mantra of Baldwin Park resident Mike Allsup, known by his neighbors as a go-to handyman, lending a helping hand to whoever needs something fixed.

It’s how he was raised, and at this point, it’s basic instinct, says Allsup, who has lived in Baldwin Park since 2012.

“I’m a problem-solver by nature,” he says. “I see a problem, and I look for a way to fix it. I’m a pretty friendly person too, so I like to help people — always like to help people.”

Allsup realized years ago he loved solving problems, even if they are not his own. As long as he can remember, Allsup has helped neighbors with various repairs — from broken sprinkler heads and fences to skateboards and flat bike tires.

He’s stepped up to help the Headrick family nearby on multiple occasions, including rescuing two kittens that had found their way into a vacant space inside the vanity in their master bathroom.

Allsup brought his hole saw, cut an opening in the side of the cabinet and fished out two sawdust-covered kittens.

“I drilled into the thing, reached my arm in there and grabbed a bunch of fur and got the cats,” he says.

“(The Headricks) had just gotten the kittens. They put them in the bathroom and they thought it was going to be safe, and then all the sudden the cats had disappeared. The kids shined a flashlight and found them in there.”

Allsup even takes the time to pass on his knowledge of repairs to the Headrick children.

“My curious kids always find their way into his garage when we are getting ready to leave and ask, Dennis the Menace style, ‘Whatcha doing Mr. Mike?’” Kerry Headrick says. “Mr. Mike will greet them with a smile and patiently explain what he’s doing. He’s taught them the physics of putting together furniture, how to hold a hammer and the importance of safety. He’s an honorary uncle to this crazy crew and a dear friend to us.”

But Allsup isn’t just good at repairs. He’s a builder, too. His creative side can be seen all throughout his home along Ethan Lane — from the backyard he designed to the classic teal truck he rebuilt and renovated in his garage over four and a half years.

While looking for furniture for their home, Allsup and his wife, Lisha, saw a shelf on Crate and Barrel’s website for $1,000. Allsup built something similar for $250 in wood.

He even gutted out a bathtub in his guest bathroom and replaced it with a shower — the plumbing and everything all done himself.

There’s always something in the works at the Allsup home, Lisha says.

“We like to have a project,” says Lisha, who has a background in architecture. “We’re project people.”

The itch to build and fix hit Allsup at an early age. He remembers working in a garage as a kid in high school. Even before that, he was building model rockets in junior high, putting together radio kits and working with a builder in his dad’s neighborhood framing out houses.

“I learned a little bit about taking nails out of boards and things of that nature,” Allsup says. “It was always interesting to me. I always had an interest in science and technology and how things worked. I would take things apart as a kid and try to put them together.”

After he bought his first house out of college, Allsup couldn’t afford hiring a repairman, so he learned how to do several things himself. He learned to fix door handles and faucets, how to expand closets, and how to build walls. 

“You just have to go out and do it,” Allsup says.

The Baldwin Parker has played the role of a handyman his whole life, but he’s also spent time working from a desk and instead of building one. He formerly worked as the senior vice president of operations for Harcourt Education in Orlando, and before that worked as the senior vice president of supply-chain management for Royal Caribbean.

Personal reasons and his desire to pursue other interests led him to quit the corporate world in 2006. He’s since turned his passion for working with his hands into a source of income. Today, Allsup and his wife look for houses to renovate and flip while helping people with various projects. 

“When you do corporate work, sometimes, you don’t always get the satisfaction of seeing things come to fruition that you can do with your hands,” Allsup says. “I build a table and I can see it, I can touch it. It’s tactile.”

“Sometimes with a corporate meeting, you don’t know what you accomplished,” he says. “I really longed for a feeling of completion, of doing something.”

When it comes to being the neighborhood handyman, the title sticks like glue, Allsup says.

“I’m happy to share my knowledge with people,” he says. “If you have the ability to make someone’s life easier by helping them, why not? I could have sat in here and watched television, or I could have gone over and helped the Headricks with their kittens. I chose to help because they’re nice people, and it was a problem that I could solve.”

 

Tim Freed is an Associate Editor with the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

See All Articles by Tim

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