Many of ABC’s certified practitioners volunteer to speak at high schools and colleges, encouraging young students to take a look at O&P as a career. It’s uncommon, though, to know whether that event influenced anyone to join the profession. That’s what struck Ed Hassler as so surprising a few years ago. While giving a prosthetic certification exam several years ago, he was approached by a young man who asked if Ed remembered him. Years prior, Ed had spoken at length with him at a high school presentation and inspired him to become an ABC Certified Prosthetist. Fast forward years later and this same student is now assistant director of Baylor College of Medicine’s O&P program.
Ed got involved with ABC as an examiner three years after he was first certified as a way to make a difference, meet peers, share ideas and give back to the profession. He likes that there are people in any part of the United States who he can call with questions – and he knows that they will do with same with him.
The spirit and enthusiasm of Ed’s work with ABC also carries over to his volunteer activities in the community. Most of his community volunteerism revolves around children’s charities or non-profits. As an Eagle Scout, Ed supports his two sons who are Cub Scouts. Like his father before him, he’s also involved in United Way. He said that growing up, volunteering was “just kind of what we did”.
That’s not to say that Ed doesn’t feel the same frustrations occasionally that everyone experiences. But thinking about his patients – the father-of-the-bride whose new leg enabled him to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding or the professional athletes who walk out the door saying “I didn’t think life would come back to this level” – powers him through.
“If it was just machine assembly, who cares?” says Ed. To him, that would get old very quickly, so he focuses on the people and the stories behind them. It’s about caring about those in front of you and envisioning what’s coming next so that you can continue the great work that makes a meaningful difference.