Created: Tue, 04 Mar 2014 09:15:00 CST
Updated: Wed, 05 Mar 2014 10:02:47 CST
It took thousands of miles for one man to take a few steps. He's a Caribbean native who traveled to Nebraska for a life-changing procedure. News 5's Kelly Baumgarten has the story
You can call it fate Or luck. But, one interaction helped changed this double amputee's life forever.
For the past 14 years simple task have been more of a challenge for Otis Stephen.
"In the beginning I thought that I probably wouldn't get back on feet again and life was very hard on my side, not having legs," said Otis Stephen.
Otis was hit by a car in 1994, which caused him to lose both his legs. Due to terrible prosthetics the 35 year old struggled to walk. In St. Lucia Otis didn't have access to more modern prosthetic technology.
His luck would change with an interaction with Kearney native Stephanie Quick in St. Lucia.
"I asked him to kind of walk and did an evaluation and just watching him walk on those legs...it was hard to see and I immediately knew that I wanted to help him," said Stephanie Quick.
Stephanie's husband Brandon is a prosthetist at Hanger Clinic in Kearney. He agreed to build and design a new pair of prosthetic legs. This procedure required Otis to travel to the United States with a visa. Which became a challenge.
"He had to produce a marriage license, land documents, financial pages. Once we got all the paperwork in order I had to fly him to Barbados and he had to meet with the Us embassy and have an interview and then they determined there if he would get the visa," said Stephanie.
But, the Quicks weren't going to let paperwork hinder Otis's dream.
"Not very often do you get a chance to work with young healthy folks that really wanna be able to get up and walk get up and do what they need to do to get through their day," said Brandon Quick.
Otis is now focused on the future. One step at a time. He's already walking better. Brandon says his generosity won't stop with Otis.
"I'm kind of looking at it from a clinical side because I'm looking at alignments and socket fits and all these other things, but then the human side of it is my goodness we just made this person more independent. More self-reliant...it's very excited," said Brandon.
"It's changed my life in so many ways. It's shown me what love and compassion can do and if we could have more of that what a difference it could make," said Stephanie.
For the past 5 weeks Otis has been living with the Quick's. Becoming one of their own.
"I'm gonna miss him and I will be crying. It's gonna be really hard," said Stephanie.
It's time for Otis to return home, where his wife looks forward to seeing Otis take a new step in his life.
"She's always excited to see me, but I think she feels more excited to see me right now. She's asking me to come home everyday," said Otis.
Tomorrow Otis is flying to New Jersey to visit his mother...and then he's heading back to St. Lucia on March 12th. Otis is looking forward to helping his family build a home.