Helping others step by step

COLUMBUS, Ga. – It’s just a few days before Christmas, a very appropriate time to bring you the story of young man from Columbus, who earlier this year went to Vietnam to help give the gift of mobility to those who couldn’t walk.

Walking, it’s something most people do everyday without thinking a thing about it, but walking is just a dream for many in Vietnam whose bodies reflect the ravages of war. Helping make that dream come true is the mission of a group from Mercer University in Macon. They spent three weeks over the summer in Vietnam helping fit prosthetics on amputees.

“I carried people up stairs. We saw people being pushed in on wheelchairs, being carried by their friends and family.” Says Chris Scrivner.

Chris Scrivner is a Mercer sophomore from Columbus. He helped fit dozens of patients with a universal prosthetic limb.

“It’s basically just a prosthetic leg you can fit onto anyone regardless of where the leg is amputated.”

This universal device was designed by Dr. Ha Van Vo with Mercer’s School of Engineering.

“I was born and raised in post war Vietnam. Since I was young I see children, elderly, soldier with no leg..crawl in the dust, suffering, begging for money for living, and I think one day I want to make them walk.” Says Dr. Ha Van Vo.

Dr. Vo spoke to the Rotary Club of Columbus recently about taking his prosthetic about taking his prosthetic invention back to his homeland through the program called Mercer on Mission. Chris saw first hand Dr. Vo’s passion for helping the Vietnamese people. After the students had finished their work day in Vietnam.

“Dr. Vo stayed in the hotel and had people come to his room where he would fit more people over the course of the night.”

Chris’ three-week mission helped him realize what a gift it is to simply be able to work.

“You don’t really think about walking on a regular basis. It’s not really something that I wake up and think I’m so glad I can walk.”

After helping so many take their first steps on prosthetic legs and seeing them literally dance with joy afterwards, Chris realizes the dramatic change he’s helped bring to their lives and his own.

“It changed me a lot.  That was probably the most impactful experience that I’ve ever experienced.”

In seven trips to Vietnam Dr. Vo has treated over 4500 prosthetic patients. When Chris was asked to if he wanted to go back on another mission to Vietnam he said, “If Dr. Vo will take me back, I would love to go!”

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