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Love of Work Fosters Recovery for Paralyzed Operator

Fri November 04, 2005 - Northeast Edition
Kate Zanoni

“When life knocks you down, you have to get right back up.”

Scott Frotton, owner of S.T. Frotton Construction, took these words to heart when he was paralyzed at work after a dreadful accident.

Approximately three years ago, while working at a muddy job site on a June afternoon, Frotton slipped and fell over backwards into a trench box. As a result of his fall, he suffered severe damage to his spinal column, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Frotton spent the next six weeks in the hospital where he was told that he would never be able to return to his job again. Frotton refused to accept this grim prediction and began a vigorous fight toward recovery.

“I was supposed to be in rehab for eight weeks,” said Frotton. His determination and endurance during physical therapy, however, paid off, allowing him to leave the hospital two weeks before he was originally scheduled for release.

“I have always been very motivated,” said Frotton, “It’s just the kind of person I am.”

The road to recovery was no easy task. After his injury, Frotton had to start from scratch.

“I didn’t even know how to sit upright,” said Frotton, “But I was motivated to get back to work. My family gave me lots of support, more than I ever could have imagined.”

After a two-year struggle, Frotton was rewarded for his hard work. He was finally able to return to the job site and continue the work that he said he “enjoys so passionately.”

“My driving force was not only my family, but also the prospect of returning to work,” said Frotton.

Now, each morning, he is assisted into the cab of a machine, usually an excavator, which he operates all day long. From the cab of his excavator, Frotton dictates all of the activities at the site.

A World of Difference

Most of the machines in S. T. Frotton’s fleet were purchased from Chadwick-BaRoss and its sales representative, Brett Pomerleau.

“One of the reasons we made the switch to Chadwick-BaRoss and Link-Belt machines was that Link-Belt is an American-owned company,” Frotton said, adding that Chadwick-BaRoss also was willing to work with him to custom-build equipment to fit his needs.

“Chadwick-BaRoss was there to help me get things started on the simple modifications that made it possible for me to return as an operator. Brett [Pomerleau] has been more than helpful and eager to do whatever he could to make my transition in returning to the cab of the machine as easy as possible,” said Frotton.

“Making the modifications on our machines to enhance my ability to operate them was really no big deal for Chadwick-BaRoss. But it has made a world of difference in my life and in how I complete my job,” Frotton added.

Chadwick-BaRoss designed Frotton’s machines with hand controls, instead of the traditional foot-controls. These modifications have allowed Frotton to continue his work in a way that would have been impossible otherwise.

About S.T. Frotton

George Frotton was the patriarch of S.T. Frotton. Before founding his company, he worked as an equipment operator and laborer. At first, his fledgling company primarily handled trucking, but he eventually guided it into construction and excavation.

His son, Scott, began actively working for his father’s company after school and during the summer at the age of 13. George continued working for the company he started up until his death in 1998.

The company feels it owes so much to its founder that there is an inscription painted on the side of Frotton’s new Link-Belt 330LX that reads: “In Memory of George.”

Today, the company is still very much a family-operated venture. Frotton runs it, and his wife, Tammy, is president and office manager. Frotton’s brothers, Dennis and Chris also are involved with the company’s operations.

S.T. Frotton’s primary service is site development in the northern New England area. Frotton owns 10 machines and has six employees.

The company is currently working on the Billerica Country Club, where an old driving range has been removed to make room for 37 new condos.

Fifteen-thousand yds. (13,716 m) of material are being removed from the site. Because of heavy clay soil conditions, extensive drainage of the site is involved.

Frotton also is responsible for all roads and utility work in the development. The project was started in August 2004 and is scheduled for completion in October 2005. The job is estimated to cost $500,000.

Looking back, Frotton views his return to work as a wonderful experience. In fact, he hopes to inspire other injured contractors and operators by showing them that they can move on with their lives.

He is living proof that, although serious injuries may cause a few setbacks, they do not have to ruin lives. CEG

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