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David Puckett - Inspirational & Motivational Stories

David Puckett - Helping the handicap walk again in Mexico

Over the past 9 years or so, David Puckett has dug into his own pocket and spent over $100,000 of his own money, sacrificed his personal life, endured a number of 16-hour days and surpassed corrupt government officials. Let's not forget the most important disappointment of them all; seeing people back out after promising they would help him. Puckett is no ordinary person what so ever. Instead of spending his 19th birthday like any normal teenager in Detroit, Michigan, Puckett had different plans all together. He enrolled himself into a six-month church mission to the Mexican highlands which opened his eyes completely.

The highlands turned out to be a hub for poverty. Those with no legs or whom needed braces were seen crawling and dragging themselves on dirt roads. This with no arms were socially isolated and of course, unemployed. He knew he had to come back and help. A few years after enrolling in the O&P program at Century College, Minnesota David made a couple of O&P trips to Mexico as a certified prosthetist/orthotist. As expected, employers weren't too happy not having him around over weekends and their money being spent. Hence, founding Positive Image Prosthetics & Orthotics (PIPO), a non profit initiative which collects donated, used orthopedic braces and artificial limbs in the United States and develops new ones from their recycled components. He then makes a trip to Mexico every six to eight weeks for four or five days to distribute them to those in need around 2o villages in Chiapas and Yucatan. Everything, including the follow-up care is free of charge. "To deliver an artificial limb or brace without follow-up doesn't help that person in the long run,"says Puckett. "We need to make sure that they have what they need to continue living successfully for years to come." David still remembers how he was ambushed by the locals on his first trip. He had seen people all day, but when he agreed to see a few more the next, he saw more than 100 people waiting gathered outside just to meet him. Over the course of 41 trips to the region, Puckett has been able to help more than 420 individuals and has come to realize that word of his effort spreads rather quickly. He even makes house visits wherever necessary.

Despite the tremendous pressure and difficulties in transporting goods to the highlands, Puckett has never given up. In fact, in his line of work, shipping thousands of dollars worth of equipment across the border runs a major risk of theft by corrupt customs inspectors. "What I get from this work is so special," Puckett said. "We're here for the people in the world who have nothing. This is what I want to do until the day I die."

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