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He Broke His Back for Rotary

July 1, 2015

Ted Bird
Fifty years ago one of the Bennington Rotary Club's Community Service projects involved taking over a hill at Mount Anthony Country Club during the winter and building a rope tow on it so local people could be pulled up the hill and ski down it.

There was a shack on top of a hill next to the fifth hole which housed an electric motor which pulled the rope. The rope was suspended from pulleys fastened to poles leading up the hill, and was about 60 yards long.

On January 23, 1965, working from the bottom of the hill the Rotarians had to climb a ladder to put the rope through a pulley suspended from each pole. A tool called a "come along" was used to pull the rope tight after it had been put through a pulley and it was then spliced to form a continuous loop.

While working on the fifth pole, Rotarian Richard "Dick" Jolivette was on the ladder about 15 feet up in the air and lost his balance and fell to the ground, hit the ground with his head, fell flat on his back and was knocked unconscious. With a speedy response by the Bennington Rescue Squad Jolivette woke up in the ambulance on the way to the Putnam Memorial Hospital, but passed out again on the X-Ray table. When he woke up Dr. Richard Fabricius, also a Rotarian told him he had crushed the 2nd lumbar in his lower back. By wearing a brace for the next six months he recovered from his injury.

Dick Jolivette who was one of the principal owners in the D & D Electric firm here in Bennington, went on the become president of the Bennington Rotary Club (1971-72) and District Governor of Rotary District 7870 (Southern Vermont and Southern New Hampshire).

He presently lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Information for this article was taken from a telephone interview with Dick Jolivette and from an article in the Bennington Banner, 1/25/1965

Author: Ted Bird

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