This week my nephew Capt. Derek Herrera retired from active duty with the Marines. He was awarded a Bronze Star for combat valor at his retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton. He was accompanied by his wife Maura and service dog Shaggy. And he was walking even with a bullet lodged in his spine, thanks to the recently FDA-approved ReWalk robotic exoskeleton.
Derek was wounded in Afghanistan in 2012 by a sniper’s bullet in the Helmand River Valley of southwestern Afghanistan leading his special operations team, paralyzed from the chest down.
Today Derek is CEO of Ruckpack. RuckPack® is a concentrated liquid energy shot of essential vitamins and minerals, without caffeine. He is also completing his MBA from UCLA.
Derek’s story is captured thoughtfully in this article by Gretel Kovach, U-T San Diego military affairs writer.
Photo courtesy of U-T San Diego.
Walking doesn’t seem so difficult – until you can’t.
But today there’s hope. Incredible new technology is making a difference. See “Getting back on my feet,” my nephew’s life-changing story. Help spread the word about ReWalk so others can experience the chance to walk again, too.
For more information: American Technion Society
Marine Capt. Derek Herrera is walking.
That’s newsworthy because he was paralyzed from the chest down in June 2012 when he was shot in Afghanistan. Today he’s using ReWalk, invented in Israel by ReWalk Robotics. ReWalk consists of motorized leg braces, a backpack containing a computer and several lithium ion batteries, a wrist-mounted controller and crutches for balance.
“Being able to look at a person at eye level is awesome,” he said.
ReWalk recently obtained FDA approval and the company issued an IPO last month.
He’s back on his feet.
On patrol in Afghanistan in June 2012, Marine Corps Captain Derek Herrera was struck by a Taliban bullet, leaving him unable to use his legs. Today, thanks to a new robotic machine that uses computers and electric motors to power his paralyzed limbs – the ReWalk exoskeleton – my nephew Derek can walk, instead of being confined to a wheelchair. ReWalk was developed by Argo Medical Technologies, Inc.
ReWalk has been used in rehabilitation hospitals in the United States for several years. It’s been available publicly in Israel, the United Kingdom and several other European countries. And now it’s available for personal use in the United States, following recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
Derek graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2006 with a degree in systems engineering. He is still on active duty with the Marines, and visited Argo’s lab in Israel to consult with the ReWalk engineering team. Today Derek is completing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of California in Los Angeles.
“I see hope for the future,” he said in a story in The Boston Globe. “Mentally and emotionally it’s been inspiring and incredible.”