HINES, Ill — A local veteran who lost the lower half of one of his legs received a life changing gift from a creative prosthetist at a Chicago veterans’ hospital.
Eric Lindholm spends his days working at Hines VA Hospital fabricating and building what life took away for many vets. The goal is to give those who served a second chance at full mobility.
But when he heard about Joe Herbst, he went to work on something completely different.
Herbst played ice hockey for 25 years before losing his lower leg in 2015. The amputation meant his ice hockey days were all but over.
But Lindholm wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet. For weeks he worked after hours to create a special prosthetic leg with a skate attached to the base.
"My thought was that if we need that push off when we are skating, I could adapt a responsive prosthetic foot to that usage and then attach a skate blade,” he said.
The experiment worked so well that Herbst is back on the ice with his old teammates once again.
"It's just amazing that Eric designed this whole thing on his own,” Herbst said. “I wouldn't be playing hockey otherwise. He gave me part of my life back".
Herbst plays forward with the Blackhawk Warriors, a team made up entirely of veterans.