HOWLAND - When people mention wanting an arm and a leg, they're usually grumbling about something they feel is overpriced.
But John Billock and his staff at Orthotics and Prosthetics Rehabilitation Centre in Howland really do want an arm and a leg - the artificial kind.
For that matter, there is an equal need for knees, elbows, hands, feet and other prosthetics.
Tom Bloom of Niles, left, and Kelly Bahn of Warren, both employees at Orthotics and Prosthetics Rehabilitation Centre, bag prosthetic hardware to ship to Haiti. Photo by R. Michael Semple
The people of Haiti have been devastated by an earthquake, and the center, located at state Route 82 and Howland Wilson Road, is trying to do something about that.
There has been a rising number of amputees on that island nation. According to the World Health Organization, some 2,000 amputations have been performed since the earthquake last month.
Because of rampant infection of injuries, aid groups estimate the number of amputees stemming from the disaster could run into the tens of thousands.
The amputees, many of them children, will need more than one prosthesis for lost limbs. Authorities said that is a burden hardly bearable for the impoverished nation.
''They need our help,'' John Billock, clinical director of the center, said of the people of Haiti. ''There are a lot of young kids and adults who have lost limbs and they're going to need our help.''
Billock, who is working with Rotary on other means of assistance to Haiti, has involved his staff on the prosthetics effort. They were eager to assist, he said.
Over the past four or five years, Orthotics and Prosthetics Rehabilitation Engineering Centre has accumulated a variety of used prosthetics.
Some were donated by amputees who might have purchased newer, more advanced models and turned in their old ones. In other cases, individuals might have died and their survivors brought in their artificial limbs, Billock said.
There's much more to do than simply passing them on to Haiti, the clinical director said. ''We're not shipping junk,'' he noted.
The staff disassembles the devices, inspects them and makes sure they are in good working condition. They also clean them and put them together again to be transported to Haiti.
The prosthetics also are organized into categories so they can be easily routed to where they are needed most.
Billock estimates that his staff will have between $25,000 and $30,000 of prosthetics ready for Haiti. The group started working Friday.
''I thought we'd be done by now, but we're still at it,'' he said.
If anyone has prosthetics to contribute, Billock said the center would gladly accept them. Having too many, he said, is better than not enough.
''There's probably more (prosthetics) out there than you would think,'' he said of the Trumbull County area.