NATCHEZ – Natchezian Desmond Miles was laying bricks on the wall of an Adams County Christian School building on Wednesday morning near where The Dart landed. He has worked with his grandfather Johnnie Lee Fitzgerald since the age of 7.
A graduate of Natchez High School, Miles attended Co-Lin Natchez where he obtained an associate’s degree in diesel technology. He has returned to school and plans to graduate in business in May. Car breakdowns have led him to learn how to repair vehicles and the intricacies of diesel intrigue him, he said.
“Diesels are more complicated than cars,” Miles said. “With a car, if you have a problem, you can almost always find it with your eyes. With a diesel you have to find the problem with a computer. Otherwise, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Diesels have more technology than a car, and one problem can cause the whole truck to malfunction. “
One day his plan is to open a detailing business where he can wash, wash and vacuum cars. One day he plans to take over Fitzgerald and Sons masonry, he said.
Brick laying is rewarding when he can see the finished product as the safety net on the CASC softball field, he said.
When not working, Miles enjoys spending time with his two red nosed pit bulls Kane and Lola. While he hunts squirrels and raccoons, he doesn’t hunt dogs much, he said. He has been hunting and fishing since the age of 5. Miles said he would fish for catfish, perch, bream, gar and bass, although bass is his favorite. The outdoors gives him time to rub shoulders with nature and animals.
“You never know what you’ll see,” Miles said.
He was once hunting near Natchez National Park when he saw a black panther. He was at knee height and was about four feet long, he said. Black panthers, or melanistic cougars, are a rare sight in the woods of the Mississippi.
“I didn’t shoot it or anything,” Miles said. “I didn’t mind, so I let it go. It was still pretty cool.