Local Repairman's Sense Of Adventure Takes Him 9K Miles From Home

Tom Ballard has always had a sense of adventure. That's why the Kannapolis native may be just repairing appliances, but he's doing it on an atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

The 60-year-old Ballard has spent most of his working life as an appliance repairman. Nominally, he lives in Manteo with his wife, Freda. But at the moment, he's 700 miles north of the equator and 9,000 miles from home.

Ballard answered an ad for job for a two-year contract to take care of 3,500 appliances on an Army installation in the Marshall Islands. In an e-mail interview with the Salisbury Post, he says it's a lot like any Army base, though food has to be shipped in, and the fishing and diving can't be beat.

Ballard says he's already considering his next job offer -- six months at a research station in the Antarctic.