Assisting Injured Iraqis
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. Kim Riemland reports.
Locator: Monroe, LA
Stateside, Steve Lindsley makes artificial limbs at a Methodist rehabilitation center in Louisiana. But when he was called to duty in Iraq, this army national guardsman decided to put his skills to good use by starting Operation Restoration.
Capt. Steve Lindsley / 112th MP Battalion: "A lot of folks walking around on crutches or rolling in a wheelchair because they didn't have an artificial limb."
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.
Capt. Steve Lindsley: "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.
Capt. Steve Lindsley: "We put it to a lot better use than Saddam did."
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.
Mark Adams / President, Methodist Rehabilitation Center: "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."
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.
Fallah Hasan Ali / Iraqi Veteran: "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 clinic.
For more information about the clinic, contact Methodist Rehabilitation Center at: http://www.mmrcrehab.org/.
To hear more about Captain Lindsley and Operation Restoration, see National Guardsman helps Iraqis walk again.