This week on Mohawk Ironworkers, we head to Six Nations, outside of Brantford, Ont., to visit the Hill brothers. These three siblings have logged more than 83 years of ironwork between them, but their efforts have affected their long-term health. The entire episode focuses on the physical demands that this highly-skilled trade places on your body.
Rodney Hill, the eldest, retired 10 years ago but his time as an ironworker continues to take a toll. Years of hard labour had compressed several vertebrae in his spine, causing excruciating pain and numbness in his limbs. Following several surgeries, he was left paralyzed and is now relies on either a wheelchair or walker to assist in his mobility. Spending countless hours in physiotherapy, Rodney is slowly regaining the use of his legs. His brothers, Mike and Gary, remain by his side just as they did when they all walked iron together.
In addition to the actual physical loss of his legs. Rodney must also cope with the psychological repercussions. Once a strong, vital man bravely walking the iron high above the city skylines, he must now cope with his reduced mobility. For many men, this is almost as debilitating as the paralysis itself. Rodney, fortified with the same courage he showed in his career, will only be satisfied when he can walk with only the aid of a cane.
Throughout, we learn of the very close familial ties ironworkers have, both within their blood family and within the ironworkers unions.
Mohawk Ironworkers airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. ET on APTN.