Orange County News

Man whose prosthetic leg was stolen gets many donation offers

Friday, June 21, 2013

After his story aired on Eyewitness News, many people reached out to help a Santa Ana man who had his prosthetic leg stolen.

Juan Hernandez couldn't help but smile as he was being fitted with a new artificial leg on Friday.

"It's beautiful. I love it. Since yesterday, I slept for a few hours and now it's a blessing from the sky," said Hernandez.

Hernandez was forced to use a wheelchair after someone stole his truck during a family outing at Knott's Berry Farm on May 26. His prosthetic leg was in the backseat.

"Once ABC aired the story, our communication center started getting flooded with phone calls," said Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas.

One of our viewers, Al Thompson, had three artificial legs that belonged to his father, Ron, who passed away last year.

"My mother, Irene Lacroix, is the one that is donating it, so it's a good thing," said Thompson.

Mike Clapp with SCOPe Orthotics & Prosthetics is making sure Hernandez is properly fitted. He says it appears the leg that will work best is coming through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Hernandez is a former Marine.

"They heard about his story, that it got stolen, and they provide everything from the socket down, so it's a knee and a foot," said Clapp.

Clapp donated his services last year after "America's Most Wanted" aired a story about Hernandez. He lost his leg and almost died in 2010 after police allege 24-year-old gang member Jose Berruette ran him over when Hernandez tried to break up a fight involving taggers in their Santa Ana neighborhood. Authorities are still searching for Berruette.

Hernandez will get his new prosthetic leg next week. For people who donated artificial limbs that did not fit Hernandez, those will be donated to others in need.

The new prosthetic is giving Hernandez and his family renewed hope.

"People out there still have a heart and compassion for others," said Hernandez. "Thank you for doing this for me, it means a lot to me. God Bless you guys."

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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