Master Mason Places Second in Brick Laying Competition

March 7, 2004 -- Posted at 10:45 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- Brick laying is what most folks like to call hard labor, but for Jonesboro native Philip Veal, it's more a labor of love.  And the 52 year old Veal has been loving his brick and morter gig for the last 38 years.

"I have a great time," said Veal. "We joke and kid around.  It's not restricted to an office or a factory and every job is a little different.  I enjoy it.  It's a lot of fun."

All that fun landed Veal in Florida at the World of Masonry Brick Laying National Championships.

"The gun starts and you've got an hour to lay as many as you can. You have to lay one side of the wall and you have to plumb your lead and your height. After that you're on your own," said Veal.

60 minutes later Veal had stacked a wall with 668 bricks, good enough for second place and $13,000 dollars in cash and prizes. 

And Veal says while the national recognition is nice, for him it's about pride and besting himself, still working at a job that most men give up by age 40.

"I guess this is my niche in life.  It's hard, it's a young man's trade, but here I am and I'm gonna be here till I die I guess," said Veal.

Veal works for R and G Masonry in Jonesboro and says his employer paid his way to and from the state and national competitions.