BLACKSBURG, Va. – A local nonprofit continues to stretch its gift of giving across the globe by providing supplies and knowledge to further expand its mission.
Hope to Walk is a nonprofit in Blacksburg that provides prosthetics to individuals around the world for under $200 for free.
This week, it is hosting its largest training group and teaching participants how to create wooden prosthetics.
Founder Phillip Johnson says that the program continues to expand.
“The amazing thing to me is that just two years ago, there was two of us and now we have quite a diverse group who are donating their time and effort,” Johnson said.
The ultimate goal will be to provide these individuals with the knowledge and tools for their next mission trip, where they can further pass on how to create prosthetics with inexpensive items to those communities.
Members of the group are from Bolivia, Haiti, Columbia, Honduras and different states within the United States. Some participants even sleep in the shop. Wilfred Macena, an amputee, says the program has changed his life.
“Hope to Walk was very happy to have me here. I am training more and very happy to go back and give back what I learned," Macena said.
Trainee Tony Luparello says that this training is personal to him since he lost his legs two years ago and wants to help those who can't afford prosthetics.
"I want to see anyone that doesn't have a leg regain that joy and sense of purpose, because you lose purpose too when you go from being a provider and you lose your leg, you can lose your job,” said Luparello said.
By the end of the week, this group will have learned the process of fitting and creating a prosthetic for an amputee within less than an hour.