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Carl: Hometown heroes

Early last year, I joined my friend Rep. Kat Cammack and several colleagues in asking our constituents to submit nominations for hometown heroes who had made an impact in their community over the course of the previous year. The past two years have been tough on millions of Americans across the country who have battled illness, loss of jobs, loss of family members, and financial struggles. Despite this, there are so many unsung heroes around us who work constantly to make the world a better place.

Brian Copes and his students at Chickasaw High School are great examples of hometown heroes. Mr. Copes teaches construction and manufacturing at Chickasaw High School, where he has worked tirelessly with his students to produce and ship affordable prosthetic legs to amputees in Latin America. The legs are made with a 3D printer, and the program has been going on for more than a decade.

These students saw a need in developing countries because about 80% of amputees live in developing countries where prosthetics are too expensive for most people to afford. Life Changer Manufacturing, which is the name for this group of students, has now had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador and Honduras to fit 26 amputees this school year.

The students are not stopping there, though. This summer they will travel to Mexico to fit more amputees with prosthetic limbs that cost the amputees absolutely nothing. The school is also working to develop a solar powered computer lab to be shipped to Central America.

The incredible work being done by Mr. Copes and his students at Chickasaw High School has resulted in them receiving the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Earlier today, I had the privilege of presenting the award winners with this prestigious award, which honors people whose service has positively impacted communities around the country and inspired others to do the same. This distinct honor is certainly well-deserved!

While there’s a lot of negativity in the world, I hope you are encouraged as I am by the hard work and service of these students at Chickasaw High School. South Alabama – and the world – are better off because of Life Changer Manufacturing, and I couldn’t be prouder to represent them in Congress.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

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