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Wounded warrior to participate in Civil War amputation reenactment at Blue & Gray Reunion

PHILIPPI, W.Va., June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics will serve as the title sponsor of the upcoming Blue & Gray Reunion to be held June 2 - 5, 2011 – and several of its amputee patients, including an Army Ranger Veteran who lost his leg while trying to apprehend Manual Noriega, will share their stories and participate in the weekend's events. The iconic weekend commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with special focus on the 150th anniversary of the first amputation of the Civil War, performed on Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics founder James Edward Hanger in June 1861.

Five short months after becoming the first amputee of the Civil War, Mr. Hanger invented the first articulating prosthetic knee joint. Whittled from barrel staves, the "Hanger Limb" was first worn by Mr. Hanger in November 1861 as he descended the steps of his home, to the astonishment of his family who didn't know what he was working on while holed up in his upstairs bedroom. In the same year, Mr. Hanger secured two patents from the Confederate government and was commissioned to develop prosthetic limbs for veteran soldiers. His company, known today as Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, has restored mobility to millions of amputees over the past 150 years.

On Sunday, June 5, 2011 following the reenactment of Mr. Hanger's amputation, Hanger patient, above-knee amputee, and Retired Army Ranger Sergeant 42-year-old Bill Dunham will showcase the Genium Bionic Prosthetic System, the world's newest microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee. He will address the audience, speaking to the advancements of prosthetic technology over the past 150 years. Dunham lost his leg above-the-knee as a result of an injury sustained while trying to apprehend Manuel Noriega in Panama in December 1989, but is now thriving with microprocessor-controlled prosthetic technology and is able to participate in the activities he enjoys such as golfing, sailing, flying small planes, snow skiing, sky diving and kayaking.

On Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 9am, Hanger employees and patients (including Army Veteran John Redfield, a below-the-knee amputee) will participate, in the Blue & Gray Reunion's 5K Run. Redfield lost his leg in April 1991 when he was hit by a van while riding his motorcycle. Just seven months after his accident, he participated in a nearly five mile road race and has been running ever since with advanced prosthetic technology. During Saturday's 5K run, Redfield will use the microprocessor-controlled socket system called the V-Hold, a technology that uses advanced sensors to measure what Redfield is doing, and vacuum suction technology to adjust the amount of suction in the socket to create the ideal fit. The V-Hold technology was developed and commercialized by Hanger's subsidiary Innovative Neurotronics. For more information on the V-Hold, visit Redfield will also address the audience after the two amputation reenactments on June 4 (2:15pm and 9:00pm).

More about Bill Dunham Retired Sergeant 42-year-old Bill Dunham of the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment lost his leg to machine gun fire during the invasion of Panama known as Operation "Just Cause," December 20, 1989. A member of the elite U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Dunham was assigned to a regiment that's mission was to parachute into the Panamanian Defense Force's 6th Infantry Company at Rio Hato, secure the airfield, and apprehend Manuel Noriega. During the mission, Dunham and four fellow soldiers were hit by friendly fire; two of the men died, including Dunham's squad leader, and three of the men were severely wounded. Dunham sustained the worst injuries of the survivors.  Dunham was airlifted to Willford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Over the next three years, Dunham underwent 21 surgeries. Initial attempts were made to save his leg, but ultimately it had to be amputated above-the-knee. During his recovery, Dunham received visits from Ross Perot and President George H. W. Bush, who presented him with his combat jump wings. 

Dunham went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in History and Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies. He held intelligence and security management positions with the Pentagon and a major U.S. corporation. Currently, Dunham is an employee of Hanger where he receives his prosthetic care, and serves as a regional Amputee Empowerment Partners (AEP) coordinator, providing peer-to-peer support visits with people who are about to face an amputation or have recently undergone an amputation.

About the Genium Knee – The Genium Knee uses advanced-process measuring and control technologies that allow patients to walk with greater efficiency, as well as up stairs, backwards, multi-directionally, and over obstacles. It does this by combining a complex sensory system (including an accelerometer and a gyroscope) with sophisticated rule sets to offer unique features that optimize gait and increase confidence. The Genium was developed in collaboration between Otto Bock Healthcare and the U.S. military (Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration). In 2006, Otto Bock was already working on a new microprocessor knee technology when they were approached by the U.S. military to partner on the development of a new prosthetic knee technology for wounded soldiers who needed a more durable, intuitive prosthetic leg.  Sponsored by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, the collaborative project was called the Military Amputee Research Program.

About Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. – Today, Hanger Orthopedic Group (NYSE: HGR), the parent company of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, is an $800+ million company with 4,300 employees who have collectively restored mobility and improved the lives of millions of people with amputations, limb deficiencies, neuromuscular disorders, and other musculoskeletal anomalies for 150 years. For more information, visit,

For more on the Blue & Gray Reunion, visit

SOURCE Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc.
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