‘Another chance at life’: Local invention aims to help injured veterans

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A veteran is getting help moving around again with the help of an invention developed right here in the river region.

While serving in Iraq, his team got hit with a roadside bomb. Since then, he’s had a hard time walking on his own.

Researchers in Augusta are getting regional recognition for the work their doing.

“It feels so good. It feels so good. I just want to take off,” said Wayne Floyd.

In 2004, Floyd and his team were hit with a Daisy Chain which is eight IEDs going off at once. From there, basic movements were never the same.

“I got to a point where I got a little depressed. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t move around,” he said.

Ebony Dillard saw this problem and to prevent weaker legs from crossing over, causing stumbling and falling over, she kept the solution simple.

“One of the easiest and simplest ways is to use a magnet,” she said.

The magnets went into the prototype. The VA Innovation Specialist Kelsey Shull says this device had humble beginnings.

“With Ebony’s, we went to Lowe’s and the dollar store and got some magnets and some cellphone cases,” said Shull.

Positive results from there expanded to what is now called a device for gait, efficiency, and balance, or ‘Deb’, named after Dillard’s mom.

It fits onto different veterans’ shoes and allows them to walk farther than before.

Floyd said: “I can’t do what I used to do, but with this device, it gives me another chance at life.”

This device is receiving recognition fromVAss across the southeast and has a provisional patent.

The long road to get here wasn’t easy. It was a sacrifice all were willing to take.

“Whatever it takes to help my other fellow brothers. That’s why I want to do it. They made a sacrifice. I make a sacrifice,” he said.

This product is getting help finalizing the prototype, to soon have enough where the veterans can take them home.