Haiti quake victims have emotional impact on prosthetics maker

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on July 22, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 22 at 8:05 PM

The Haiti earthquake that rocked the region and shocked the world has receded from the daily headlines, but the stories from the tragedy aren't going away.

Many problems remain for the impoverished island residents, and one North Texas medical expert is just back from doing his part to give back.

Steve Prock spent two weeks in Haiti. His company, Hanger Prosthetics, shipped 13,000 units of new prosthetic equipment to the devastated region, with a lifelong commitment to giving people their lives back for free.

"There were about 4,000 amputees in Haiti, what they estimated before the earthquake," Prock said. "The day of the earthquake, they anticipate there was like about 8,000 amputees, so it just doubled in a matter of hours."

Prock says one little girl named Odelia stole his heart. He met her in a remote village.

"I said, 'Odelia is coming back [to the hospital] if she has to ride in my lap all the way,'" Prock recalled.

Odelia made the trip and received her new prosthetic leg, proving her will to grow stronger within hours.

"Monday morning... before 12 o'clock... we had her up, and we had her walking," Prock said. "It was neat."

Hanger is also training four Haitians to create and fit prosthetics, and they will — in turn — educate other islanders.

"We're teaching them how to fish; you know, the old proverb of teaching them to fish and they'll eat for a lifetime," Prock said.

Prock said he expected to change lives on this trip, but never imagined that he would be the one most impacted.

"What does the Bible say? Here by the grace of God, here am I. They don't have a lot."

Prock said he is willing and wanting to go back for another rotation in the future. His company's team has already helped more than 400 amputees in Haiti.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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