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New limbs, new hope: the two Soldiers work at the Grey Wolf FOB in Baghdad's International Zone, taking measurements for the construction of new limbs for Iraqis in the program.

TWELVE years ago, SSG Chris Cummings was a full-time bartender, dispensing drinks to patrons on a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was having a lot of fun, but not making much money.

Cummings, a member of the Army Reserve's 478th Civil Affairs Battalion in Miami, took a second job at a Fort Lauderdale laboratory that manufactured artificial arms and legs.

He soon gave up bartending, and a year after joining the prosthetics lab, he became a partner in the business. Cummings later began his own prosthetics company, but had to close the business when his unit was mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Now, as a way to help amputees in Iraq, Cummings has teamed up with CPT Steve Lindsley, a certified prosthetist with the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Monroe, La., and a member of the Canton, Miss.,-based 112th Military Police Bn. Together, the two Soldiers have identified more than 60 Iraqi amputees, many of them children and teenagers, who need new limbs.

"CPT Lindsley came up with the idea of starting a free prosthetics clinic in Iraq for local people, regardless of their age. However, most of the amputees coming to the program have been young men," Cummings said. "The captain's civilian boss at MRC, Chris Wallace, supports our effort by providing materials. The Army has helped by giving us the time to help amputees and a facility to work in."

The two Soldiers work almost every day at the Grey Wolf Forward Operation Base in Baghdad's International Zone, taking measurements for the construction of new limbs for Iraqis in the program.

Cummings, who was scheduled to go home in early October, chose to stay in Iraq and help more amputees.

"I promised a lot of people I was going to help them--I can't go back on my promises," Cummings said.

SFC Clarence Kugler is with the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office also contributed to this article.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Focus on People
Author:Kugler, Clarence
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:330
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