At Clark & Associates, we count ourselves extremely fortunate to have a working partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. As many of you may know, some of our staff members have been able to work with members of our armed forces at Walter Reed, helping them recover from injuries they received while serving our country overseas. One of these courageous individuals is Derick Hurt.
Derick served in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While on patrol in Mosul, Iraq on Sept.13, 2003, Derick and his fellow soldiers were ambushed by insurgents. A grenade landed between his feet in the Humvee he was driving. The explosion completely tore off Derick’s right leg below the knee, and his left leg was badly damaged as well. He was then airlifted to Longstul, Germany, then back to Walter Reed shortly after that.
“I spent 13 months at Walter Reed,” Derick said, “and that is where I met the wonderful folks at Clark & Associates.”
While at Walter Reed, Derick met Dennis Clark, Andy Steele, Matt “Hutch” Hutchings and other members of the Clark & Associates staff, who have worked with him from day one until now. Derick said he has never wanted to see any other prosthetists because of their exceptional work. Staying active is one of Derick’s passions, and the team at Clark & Associates has helped him do so.
“They have made me diving prosthetic legs, running prosthetic legs, biking prosthetic legs, snow skiing prosthetic legs,” Derick said. “I use them all and they all work perfectly to keep me active and healthy. I can’t imagine going anywhere else [for prosthetic care]; there is no better care anywhere in my opinion.”
This isn’t to say Derick hasn’t faced his fair share of challenges along the way. At age 25, learning to walk again wasn’t something he ever thought he would have to do, Derick said. Trusting a prosthetic limb wasn’t easy because he wasn’t sure how they would compare to the real thing. Derick also had to deal with what is known as “phantom pain,” pain that feels like it is coming from the amputated limbs.
“Phantom pain is so painful, interruptive and inconsistent,” Derick said. “It was very intense at first, then as the years passed I noticed it subsiding a little bit, but it has never totally disappeared.”
Still, these challenges have done little to deter Derick from his goals. He plans to work full time for Missouri Department of Natural Resources this year, and looks forward to staying healthy and active.
“I couldn’t do what I do without the quality care I receive from Clark & Associates,” Derick said. “Thanks, everybody.”
We think we speak for everyone here at Clark & Associates and many others when we say “Thank you, Derick” for serving our country and for continuing to lead by example in your daily life.