Rotary Hope Center Checks Presentation

Members of two area Rotary Clubs recently made a joint check presentation to Blacksburg-based Hope to Walk Inc. Pictured (from left) are Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg members John Austin, International Programs chair, and President Brandon Cross; Phil Johnson, CPO and founder of Hope to Walk; and Rotary Club of Blacksburg President Mark Woolwine, Treasurer Peter Weimerskirch, and Christy Brown, International Programs.

The Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg and Rotary Club of Blacksburg recently presented Phil Johnson, CPO and founder of Hope to Walk Inc., with checks totaling $18,000 as part of a Rotary Global Award to support the development of a Hope Center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The total award of $50,000 also includes financial support from the local host sponsors, the Tegucigalpa Rotary Club, and matching grant funds from Rotary District 7570 and Rotary International.

The Rotary Global Award will provide for the manufacture, fitting and maintenance of prosthetic devices, as well as training and certification of local technicians, enabling the expansion of the Hope to Walk mission. The long-range goal for the Hope Center is to develop a sustainable delivery model to provide prostheses to individuals in larger areas of Honduras and other impoverished countries.

Johnson is a Blacksburg prosthetist and orthotist who has invented a low-cost below-knee prosthetic leg which costs less than $100 and an above-knee prosthetic leg for $200. This is in contrast to commercially available prosthetic legs that range from $4,000 to more than $50,000. So far, Hope to Walk has fitted more than 300 prostheses to impoverished individuals living in the Tegucigalpa region of Honduras. The Hope Center is supported by two partnering institutions: the JMA Baxter Clinic in Tegucigalpa, and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg.

When a person loses a leg, they often lose the ability to provide for their family and often feel deprived of their intrinsic value. Hope to Walk strives to empower clinics in developing nations to manufacture and deliver affordable prosthetics to amputee patients living in poverty.

Rotary International is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders and problem solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves. For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people have used their passion, energy and intelligence to better our world.

Submitted by Terri Fisher

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