An Iraq war veteran, who had both of his legs amputated, is the first veteran in the country to get the latest technology in prosthetics being made available in Iowa. Clark and Associates in Waterloo has one of two machines in the entire world that make the new walking sockets that are both lighter and stronger.

Derick Hurt of Greenfield, Missouri is already used to walking with prosthetics. He lost his right leg in September 2003 while serving in Iraq. “I took the blunt of a grenade. It pretty much landed in between my feet and took the right leg off immediately and messed up my left leg and foot pretty bad,” Hurt said.

His left leg was amputated in March 2009. Since then, Hurt’s been using walking sockets that weigh about a pound and a half each. The new walking sockets are two-thirds lighter.

“They’re so much lighter and stronger,” Hurt said. “The weight difference…I’ll be able to walk so much easier.” The new machine at Clark and Associates weaves carbon fiber into the shape that snugly fits around an amputee’s limb.

Hurt is the first veteran to test out the new technology, with hopes of leading the life he did before his injuries. Hurt and the prosthetic team from Clark and Associates plan to visit Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. in a couple months to officially introduce the product to other veterans.

By Nadia Crow, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids