Pasadena officer gets prosthetic leg

He was seriously injured last spring and has undergone more than 26 surgeries

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PASADENA - A Pasadena police officer, an Iraqi war veteran and an oil field service worker are the first people in Houston to be fitted with revolutionary intuitive prosthetic legs.

"I'll be walking hopefully soon and be back to doing what I love," said injured Pasadena police officer Michael Huffman.

Huffman was seriously injured last spring and has undergone more than 26 surgeries. His friend and fellow Pasadena police officer Larry Candelari was killed when an 18 wheeler hit both officers after they stopped to help a motorist on the side of the road near Kerrville.

"It is what it is. I lost my leg. We have thousands of military personnel with a lot worse injuries than me and they are going back and fighting for our country and the least I can do is fight through this and get back to teaching and doing the job i love," said Huffman, who said he never thought of retiring and plans to return to his job with the Pasadena Police Department.

Huffman said he is proud of being on the Pasadena SWAT team for 22 years and even had a design from a competition SWAT t-shirt put on his new leg in honor of the Pasadena SWAT team.

Veteran John Keith, a combat medic, lost his left leg while on duty in Iraq. This is his third prosthetic leg since he was injured in 2004.

"It is water proof and the feature I have been waiting for because I love the water," said Keith who is looking forward to trips to the beach with his family.

"This Ottobock X3 knee is 100 percent water proof. It has the ability to run and is the first micro presser knee that has a computer chip in it," said Jon Holmes who is the owner of Holmes Prosthetic Center off Kirby Drive. "In the past patients had to think about every step they took on an above knee leg and it took a major portion of their brain and it was very distracting, so now with these microprocessors they have to think of it less," added Holmes.

Gregory Young was also fitted with the new prosthetic Friday. The 28-year-old lost his leg above the knee while on the job.

"Life happens. You got to move on. There are too many people who would give up anything to be in my position. I am ready to move on and get my life on the road," said Young, who continues to go to work and the gym every day.

"I am sorry for why the military had to develop this but it is fantastic. I love this thing. My life is perfectly back to normal," added Young who is currently planning to run a Tough Mudder with his new leg in the spring.

Young is a die-hard Texas Longhorns and Houston Texans fan and his new prosthetic leg is decorated in a red, white and blue tribute to both teams.

"Expensive piece of art here," said Young.

The positive attitudes of all three men inspired everyone in the room.

"It is not going to be as it was but just to be able to do things with my family, get up walk around, open the door for my wife, get in the car and drive and just little things you take for granted after losing a limb. I am looking forward to doing those things again: being good father, husband, co-worker," said Huffman.

Huffman who is still battling an infection in his foot said he is eager for doctors to get it under control so he can fully use his new prosthetic leg.

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