Pizza Oven Prosthetics
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
MONROE, LOUISIANA (ANS) Captain Steve
Lindsley was sent to Iraq as a military police officer. But after what
he saw on the streets of Baghdad, he wanted to do more than keep the peace.
Lindsley decided to make the most of his 14 months away from his family
and job, by helping others experience another level of freedom.
Sometimes Steve Lindsley is a captain in the National Guard, and he makes
artificial limbs in his regular job at Methodist Rehabilitation hospital
When he was sent to Baghdad as a peacekeeper, he quickly saw a new way
to use his skills. With donated parts, and even a pizza oven once used
by Saddam Hussein's family, Lindsley helped create prosthetics for injured
Iraqis, and gave them another type of freedom.
Stateside, Lindsley makes artificial limbs at a Methodist rehabilitation
center in Louisiana. But when he was called to duty in Iraq as Capt. Steve
Lindsley of the 112th MP Battalion, this army national guardsman decided
to put his skills to good use by starting Operation Restoration.
“A lot of folks walking around on crutches or rolling in a wheelchair
because they didn’t have an artificial limb,” Lindsley told
United Methodist Television.
According to a broadcast tape available from UMTV, one of his first patients
was 14-year-old Ali (ah-LEE), who lost a leg when he was hit by a truck.
After using a crutch for seven years, he’s walking again with a
new artificial leg.
“We dropped him off at a military checkpoint about two miles from
his house, and he walked the last two miles and totally forgot his crutch,”
U.S. companies donated parts for the prosthetics, but sometimes Lindsley
had to improvise -- heating plastic to mold the artificial limbs with
a pizza oven from Saddam Hussein's family.
“We put it to a lot better use than Saddam did,” he said.
The Baghdad clinic will stay open at least until this summer with the
support of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Mississippi. United
Methodist Mark Adams is president of the hospital.
“Ideally, I think it would be nice for us to have an ongoing relationship
with the clinic, to be able to help bring some of those folks in Iraq
over here and train them,” Adams said.
That way, the clinic can continue helping patients like Iraqi veteran
Fallah Hasan Ali, who once fought for Saddam, and lost both legs in the
war with Iran.
The Iraqi Veteran said: “I am, feel very, very, very happy. And
I want to thank Mr. Lindsley.”
And thanks to Operation Restoration, this former Iraqi fighter is now
taking steps to freedom.
The Baghdad clinic opened with two patients, and now has nearly 70. Equipment
and supplies worth more than half a million dollars were donated to the
Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist.
A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent
for ASSIST News Service of Garden Grove, CA. Michael immigrated to the
United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in Sept., 1995. He is married
with two children.
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