Its business as usual at the Taylor Machine Shop and Tom Taylor doesn't stay idle for very long. In spite of the long-term effects he has endured since a tragic mowing accident, Taylor continues to independently manage his own business.
Taylor, of the Newcomerstown area, said he was involved in a mowing accident 13 years ago while mowing a steep incline behind his home.
"I mowed this same area on a regular basis. It was just a simple task," he said.
The mower blade suddenly dug into the ground, causing the mower to slip down the embankment, pinning Taylor to a nearby tree. The end result was permanent paralysis to his lower body.
Taylor said during his recovery, he felt the needed to get back to as normal a life as he could, stating, "something to keep me busy."
He said he really wanted to get back to doing what he had done most of his life, working as a machinist.
Taylor started out taking various machine shop courses through the vocational school while he was working at the former Simonds in Newcomerstown. He then went to work for Gradall, CND Machine Inc. and was employed with Hydrolic Specialists at the time of the accident.
Taylor said he returned to his job for a short time. But, he found out that he needed to find something that he could do from home and continue his recovery process. He had previously been thinking about starting his own business and figured it was an opportune time to pursue just that.
Taylor later opened a machine shop in his garage, but soon found out he needed to make many adjustments in order to work safely and efficiently from his power scooter. He said that through the help of the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (ORSC), the late Carl Fivecoat, Jerry Wilson and many individuals within the community, his machine shop plan became a reality. He also credits his family which consists of his wife, the former Lori Smith from Newcomerstown; their sons, Jonathon and Jordan; his parents, John and Dorothy Taylor; and his sister, Luann Teter, who resides near Dayton.
He said there were so many individuals that were involved in helping make adjustments to the shop. He said The W.M. Brode Co. in Newcomerstown assisted him in obtaining his machinery.
"They even delivered it and set everything up for me," he said.
The W.M. Brode Co. is one of his main local customers.
In spite of national economical concerns, Taylor said his business has been very consistent. He has several large local businesses that he does metal work for, as well as regular customers that call for his services.
One factor that keeps him going strong and able to manage his business is his spiritual faith. Taylor and his wife attend the Newcomerstown Church of the Nazarene.
"I know that none of this would have been possible without my faith in God, and having all the help and emotional support I have received from my family and the community," he said.
Taylor was the cover subject of a quarterly publication last spring that is published by the Ohio Rehabilitation Specialist Commission (ORSC). The article featured information about how Taylor was able to obtain specially-adapted equipment through ORSC to facilitate his ability to work with the metal pieces that he builds and repairs -- some of which are quite heavy and difficult to handle.
Taylor said he is not looking for any recognition about himself. He said he is hopeful that his story will may be beneficial to someone out there that may be experiencing a similar situation. He said there is assistance (for individuals that are handicapped) but says it requires research.
Taylor said by keeping faith, having a good emotional support system and researching all available resources and options, that life can sometimes open up another door.