Kootenai Prosthetics & Orthotics








Amputees In Action


Denzel Tucker



 

Ask KPO owner Bob Miller which of his patients is the hardest on their prosthesis and he responds: Denzel Tucker.

 

The exuberant, athletic, 12-year-old knows few limits as he tears around his family’s Moyie Springs ranch doing chores, feeding animals and shooting hoops with his brothers and sisters. He’s an accomplished skateboarder, loves tubing in the summer and sledding in the winter. Hip hop and rock music are the soundtracks to his life, while computer aps and reading the Red Wall book series occupy his occasional quieter moments. When he grows up, he’d like to play college or NBA ball. Or be an actor or a rapper. Maybe a DJ. The Air Force is a possibility, too.

 

In other words, Denzel is just like any other pre-teen boy. If he’s not wearing shorts, you’d never know he’s a below knee amputee.

 

“Yeah, most people don’t even notice,” Denzel shrugs. “They go ‘Oh hey, I didn’t even know you don’t have a leg!’ One of my friends is always telling me I’d better be careful, but I just tell him, no, you better be careful.”

 

Denzel was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and lost his leg as an infant. When he was five years old, Tim and Dawn Tucker adopted Denzel and brought him to North Idaho. He’s been a patient at KPO ever since.

 

Denzel is growing up in a happily blended family and cultural melting pot that includes two of Dawn’s children, Tim and Dawn’s son and daughter, a girl adopted from Sierra Leone, another from Panama and a boy from New Orleans. The children’s antics and personalities ricochet from the old-fashioned barn to the dusty corrals on the Tucker’s sprawling 10-acre North Idaho ranch where Dawn raises and trains horses and the couple oversee a collection of goats, a llama, chickens, cows and horses.

 

“Not having a leg doesn’t limit me in any way,” Denzel says. “I can do the things that kids with both their legs can do. It’s actually pretty fun because people think I am a cool kid because I have a fake leg.” 

 

Last summer Denzel attended Camp No Limits, a summer retreat on Lake Coeur d’Alene for amputee children, teens and their parents. It was a weekend full of camaraderie, boating, slip ‘n’ slide, strength and balance training and a chance for the kids to inspire each other. Denzel reports that the only thing wrong with the experience was that it didn’t last long enough.

 

“If I met another kid who’d just lost their arm or leg, I would tell them not to worry. Just make the best out of it and you will be pretty much like everybody else.”




Other Amputees In Action

Don Bennett

Rahim

Jack Lamb

Dian Hanson

Ken Larson

Gary Wilson