Ronny Delaughter attends therapy every day in his own back yard. But instead of a traditional therapy session, he’s sitting in the seat of his Bobcat® E50 compact excavator he’s affectionately named “Brutus.”
For several years, Ronny was ill, struggling with a myriad of physical and mental health challenges. His health was destroying his future. Against all odds, Ronny found positivity, happiness, and a higher quality of life thanks to the help of his Bobcat excavator.
Planting the seed
For most of Ronny Delaughter’s adult life, he has been a provider and hard worker, says his daughter, Abby. Ronny and his wife, Kelly, have been married 38 years and have raised a family of three children. He began his career in logging, owning a company and managing a crew for six years. Later, he went on to become a semi-trailer driver where he devoted 18 years of service.
Ronny’s quality of life took a turn when his health started declining a few years ago. “I couldn’t do much about it,” says Ronny. “I had both of my knees replaced and was struggling with liver failure. When my surgeries were completed, they estimated I wouldn’t make it past two years.”
Hospitalized for a month and a half, he was struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Combating depression and recovering from his knee surgeries all while battling weight gain and increased anxiety was proving to be overwhelming for Ronny.
“One weekend they called me from the hospital and told me he wasn’t going to make it,” says Abby. “His quality of life was bad. He stayed inside most of the time. It wasn’t until he made his big purchase that things started looking up.”
The Delaughters knew they had to help change Ronny’s lifestyle if he had any hope of living a fulfilled life again. That’s when the idea began to take root.
“I needed to find my purpose. I started thinking about my past experiences working in the logging industry, and realized I wanted to get out into nature again,” says Ronny. “I saw the benefits of buying my own equipment rather than renting. An excavator seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
While shopping for an excavator, Ronny brought his son-in-law along to help test out the equipment.
“After my son-in-law said the Bobcat excavator was the strongest thing he’s ever operated in his life, I knew I had to have it,” says Ronny. “Shortly after I bought it, I named it Brutus. To me, the name conveys strength and persistence.”
Ronny has become very prideful of his Bobcat excavator. “I always go outside and kiss Brutus in the morning, even before I wake up my wife,” he admits.
To begin a long list of projects, Ronny started by cleaning up his 40-acre property. Ridding the front yard of its broken-down brick columns was his first task. Next, he removed the old bushes and plants from the yard using his bucket attachment.
“Most of the time, I’m just out there having fun,” says Ronny. “I love running the machine.” Using his excavator, Ronny formed a dozen acres of trails for his grandchildren to explore.
Ronny also lends a hand in his community. During times of disastrous hurricane weather, he helps the community by clearing away debris from roads using his excavator.
Cultivating a legacy
With a little digging, Ronny is a new man. After losing 100 pounds, he is healthy and continuing to make an excellent recovery. “I still have my routine MRIs and CAT scans every three to six months,” says Ronny. “But in the meantime, I am back doing what I love: spending time outside in the woods.
Abby accredits her father’s health to the projects Ronny completes with the help of his excavator. She claims the excavator gives him the opportunity to get outside and be active while completing projects, fulfilling a purpose for him.
“His time working outside has enabled him to get healthy and be independent,” says Abby. “He has overcome so much. The doctors didn’t give us much hope for a future, but I wouldn’t have ever imagined that he would be where he is today. I’m proud of him.”
Ronny’s journey is just beginning. Looking toward the future, Ronny has dreams of planting a tree farm. In partnership with the forestry commission, Ronny is working to grow pine trees with the potential of starting his own logging business. He hopes to begin a legacy he can leave for his family.
“Once I clear out the oak trees, I will have pastureland ready for planting,” says Ronny. He has big plans for his tree farm. Afterall, legacies aren’t built overnight. “The sooner I start planting, the better,” he says.
In the future, Ronny would like to invest in a root grapple and tilt grading bucket attachment for his excavator. He even has his eyes on a Bobcat skid-steer loader.
“To me, I owe my life to my excavator,” says Ronny. “It saved me. I love everything about my excavator. Not only did I purchase a quality product, but I got my quality of life back.”