Local Middle Schoolers Raise Money For LEGS - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/11/06-Longview

Local Middle Schoolers Raise Money For LEGS

It was an East Texas project that brought hope to dozens of people half way around the world. The LeTourneau Engineering for Global Solutions or LEGS program designs prosthetic legs for amputees in Africa. Last summer, KLTV traveled with the team to Kijabe, Kenya where amputees, mainly children, were given prosthetic legs to walk, something they thought they'd never do.

We saw how they fit the amputees with the prosthetic, make each one, and teach them how to walk.   And now, Pine Tree middle schoolers have decided to adopt the LEGS program as their annual fundraiser. The students are selling school bracelets to anyone and everyone to raise money.  

Wednesday, Program Director Dr. Roger Gonzalez and a LeTourneau student talked to the middle schoolers about their research and last summer's trip. It's all in an effort to help these students understand the program.

The kids saw pictures of how the native people live, and how the prosthetic legs help them. Even a Pine Tree teacher demonstrated what it's like to walk with a prosthetic leg. Kids say the fundraiser will bring attention on what East Texas does, all across the world.

Fifth grader, Grant Carrington says, "I thought it was interesting that they could actually use the prosthetic and be happy and go out a play, like play soccer and get to have fun."

"We're kind of here to kind of help give them a boost and we're really glad we can help them and they can help us and I think as we work together we can help kids around the world," says Dr. Gonzalez.

The LEGS team is planning even more trips to Africa. In January, they are going to help amputees in Sierra Leone.  Trips they say they hope will be possible with money raised by the Pine Tree middle schoolers.   

A prosthetic leg made by the LeTourneau students costs less than a 100 dollars. That's opposed to one made in the U.S. that costs anywhere from 20 to 30 thousand dollars.

Fortunately, the students get most of the materials donated.   They say it's the airfare that makes these trips so expensive, but a trip that is certainly well worth it.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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