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Bayside contractor gives back to community with free projects

At least several times per year, longtime Bayside contractor Mitchell Kersch can rightfully boast that his Clearview Expressway−based business offers the lowest prices.

Kersch’s grandfather opened Major Homes Corp. in Corona in 1919 after moving to the United States from Poland. The company moved to Bayside in 1974 and, at age 17, Kersch took over the business from his ailing father and completed his college education through night school.

Kersch, 52, who now lives in Roslyn, L.I., and his son, Jason, 25, operate the home−remodeling company from 48−52 Clearview Expressway in Bayside. The business offers a variety of services, including window installation, roofing and siding, as well as kitchen and bath work.

He said he loves giving back to the northeast Queens and Long Island communities from which his customers hail. So his company undertakes several projects free of charge per year for customers who need a helping hand.

“We try to do at least one free job per year for a local family in need,” he said. “I like to give back to the community. I don’t just give free things away. But if I feel a person has a real hardship, I’ll call them. In the long run, it comes back in aces because I build a good rapport.”

Each year, Kersch provides several free window or gutter installations as well as one or two bigger projects. A few years ago, he provided $15,000 worth of work for free to a Long Island woman who had three sick children.

In August 2008, he decided on the spot to help a North Bellmore, L.I., couple after he discovered their dilemma.

Karrie Ann Vitti said she was in the process of fixing up her new home when her husband, who works in the automotive industry, lost three of the fingers on his right hand in a work−related accident. She said her family had been pitching in to complete work on the house at the time that Kersch showed up to survey her home.

“We’d had a leak in my daughter’s bedroom,” she said. “[Kersch] took a look at the construction we had going on and saw my husband’s hand. He looked around and figured out the extent of the work. He then said, ‘And the grand total is, nothing.’ ” I honestly didn’t believe him until two days later, when his project manager showed up and wanted me to pick a color for the house’s siding. We were flabbergasted.”

Vitti said Kersch resided the back of her house as well as installed gutters along its side. The project was priced at $6,500.

Kersch said the customer base for Major Homes is primarily in Bayside and Long Island, but that he also does work on homes in Queens Village, Flushing, Whitestone, Ozone Park, Bellerose, Howard Beach and other Queens neighborhoods.

“He goes out of his way for his customers,” Jason Kersch said. “And he’s been doing it for 40 years. He’s worked hard his whole life and done well. So he feels a need to give back to his community.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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