A new Segway was given to Marine Staff Sgt. Anthony Gower by a nonprofit company which helps out wounded veterans, enabling him to move about on his own and without too much pain.
Back in 2005, Grover injured his left leg in a bomb blast in Iraq. Ever since he’s routinely on painkiller medicine as walking hurts his knees. Having tried numerous solutions and wheelchair accessories, very shortly after trying out his Segway, there was a big smile in his face.
Gower was one of numerous veterans who were getting acquainted with Segways provided by Segs4vets, a program managed by Disability Rights Advocates for Technology (DRAFT).
The veterans were also given 51 electric scooters (they had to buy a cup holder separately however) at a formal ceremony at the Marine Corps War Memorial on the next day after they finished their 2-day training with the machines.
The program has by now awarded beyond 500 Segways to disabled veterans. Moreover, last month, and shortly before the dealth of Jimi Heselden, the owner of the Segway Company, the program received 1,000 more machines from him. Easy for verterans, to use this two-wheeled scooter, the person has to simply stand and lean in the direction where he wished to move.
With assistance from a trainer, the veterans learnt how to go up and down on inclinations like skilled skiers. “You get on it and you pretty much meld with it,” said Army Cpl. Jayson Zimmerman, who injured his ankles and heels in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan last October.
Vietnam veteran Mike Hodge who was present on the 2nd day of the training was a great source of inspiration to veterans learning how to use their new machines. Each of these machines together with the scooter, accessories (like a special drink holder) and training cost about $7,700 and Segs4vets presented a machine specifically to Hodge, said Christine Black, advisory board member of DRAFT.
Way back in 1968 in Da Nang, Hodge, a former Marine lost both his legs. Since then he’s been fitted with prosthetic limbs called “stubbies” that don’t stretch out beyond his knees. Walking takes a lot of effort for him compared to people who walk with both of their legs.
Now through the Segway, Hodge possesses much more strength to enjoy and value his life to its fullest. He’s been struggling for 10 years to persuade the Department of Veterans Affairs to give Segways to disabled veterans.
This is outstanding mobility equipment which takes care of the mental delight as well as physical health conditions of the veterans, he said.