Lover of the Daily Grind
Going back to work after a spinal cord injury may seem daunting, but for Jeff Colton, a T3-6 paraplegic from Chanute, Kan., it has been standard protocol since the start. Injured from spine cancer when he was 18 years old, he figured out right away things could’ve been much worse. “I thought my life was over,” he says. “But as I was going through PT, OT and rehab, I soon realized there were people in similar situations, but they were much worse off than I was.”
Realizing he was beginning a new life, Colton, now 38, embraced it. “There is not much I can’t do anymore, other than walk,” he laughs. When he returned home, his first goal was to graduate from high school on-time, which he did. “Luckily I had enough credits to graduate,” he says. “In fact, when I went down the aisle during graduation, I received a standing ovation.”
After high school, Colton entered the workforce as soon as he could. Instead of going back to McDonald’s where he worked pre-injury, he gave customer service a try. “My first job was working in Kansas City, Mo., working for H&R Block doing tech support,” he says, and he loved it. After this job, Colton went on to vocational school for computer repair, then majored in computer programming at an area community college.
Armed with his new degrees, he went back to work, this time in the call center world doing tech support, a job he currently does and thinks is great for wheelchair users. “It offers a flexible schedule and nowadays, more and more com