Leland Poremski, 7, displays a fine work ethic helping with family business

By LEE J. KAHRS

BRANDON — Leland Poremski is proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In fact, Leland, 7, isn’t far from any tree when he’s working with his dad Thad Poremski, owner of Black Bear Tree Service.

Leland is the oldest of four children and it was his mom, Lacey, who shared her son’s desire to work with his father whenever he can. Leland’s siblings include Anna, 4, Caleb, 3, and Tristan, 3 months old.

“Leland has been waking up with his daddy whenever the job is safe enough to attend,” Lacey said. “It is amazing to see the work ethic and enthusiasm the little guy has.”

Thad Poremski, left, and his son Leland, 7. Leland likes helping his dad with the family business, Black Bear Tree Service, and regularly works with the crew. Photo by Lee Kahrs

The Reporter caught up with Leland and his dad on the job on Champlain Street last week. A box elder and a maple tree were hanging over a property line needed to come down. He was easy to spot in his red hardhat and ear protectors, wearing a blue Black Bear shirt, just his size.

His dad Thad said Leland started riding along on tree jobs when he was 3 or 4 years old. Then last summer, the boy was allowed to start helping out on the job sites.

“Daddy let me go to work,” Leland said.

“He was interested in the equipment,” Thad said simply.

And what is Leland’s favorite piece of equipment?

“The bucket truck,” he said, although he is not allowed to be in the bucket when it’s moving.

Leland quickly showed his work ethic and sense of responsibility when he was on the job, to the point where clients began to notice.

“He brings such light to Thad’s customers and passersby,” his mom said. “The old timers that he works for seem to get a hazy look of nostalgia in their eyes when they see Leland dragging brush or walking fast to try to keep up with Thad. Some of his customers aren’t really sure what to do when they see the crew roll in with him, not sure if they should offer him an invite to come in out of the heat or a cold drink to keep him hydrated and working.”

And the boy accepts tips. He said he’s saving up for an ATV, or a remote control car. He also likes Legos. He’s made $39 in tips so far this season.

“Most people ask if he wants to come in where it’s cool and watch TV,” Thad said. “I say no, he wants to be outside.”

Leland helps rake up the brush after a tree is felled and clean up the work site. His co-workers think the world of him. Peter Perrine has been with Black Bear just under a year.

“He knows his stuff and he’s very conscious of safety,” Perrine said of Leland. “He’s patient and he’s a good leader.”

Then there was Leland’s grandfather, Tom Jaquette, 72, visiting from Michigan.

“We’re the bookends of this operation,” he said of himself and his grandson. “This guy outworks me everyday. He’s smart and he has a good work ethic.”

Leland said he has to stay home sometimes when the job is more dangerous.

“I like to spend time with my dad and in nature,” he said. “But if we have a weekend, I go on jobs.”

Leland Poremski, left, rakes while Black Bear employee Chris Davis mans the shovel. Photo by Lee Kahr

Even in the winter, when Poremski does more logging than tree work, Leland tags along to work.

“Daddy says when I’m old enough, I can do the chainsaw,” he said. “I can do the weed wacker though, it’s battery-powered.”

Leland’s dad said he couldn’t be happier with his young son’s interest in the family business.

“Leland is a great co-pilot,” Thad said. “He never wants to know if we’re almost there.”

His mom said the family gets emails and messages all the time from peoplewho notice the young boy working with his dad.

“They say how proud they were to see Leland’s little arm hanging out the log truck window or his little hardhat across town working on Park Street,” Lacey Poremski said. “He has earned tips from customers and countless popsicles, cookies, Kool-Aid, old books and, most importantly, a strong work ethic and set of skills that can rarely be seen in today’s culture of young people.”

After raking up maple leaves and putting the last of the brush into the truck on Champlain Street, Leland and the rest of the Black Bear crew packed up. The little boy waved from his perch in the bucket truck next to his dad as the crew headed off to lunch before tackling the next job.