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Madrid-Waddington custodian puts his extra legs to good use

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MADRID – A Madrid-Waddington Central School custodian had a few extra legs, so he decided to give them away to those who could use them.

While organizing items for an auction in the school’s basement, business and computer science teacher Tresa A. Wilson and custodian Dave P. Gausby discussed giving away their own used valuables.

Mr. Gausby, whose right leg was amputated in 1995, had five prosthetic limbs collecting dust in his garage.

“For years, I’ve been wondering what to do with them,” Mr. Gausby said. “I’ve always wanted to send them off so that someone else can do something with them to better themselves, but I didn’t know how.”

Mr. Gausby, who has been a custodian for the district for 12 years, said he has had to replace his prosthesis often over the years.

“I work full time, so I do a lot of moving and it wears them out until the point where I need to get fitted for another one,” he said.

Prosthetic legs cost roughly $12,000, Mr. Gausby said. He said he has to get a new one every two or three years. It costs $1,500 just for a cover for the prosthetic.

“It’s expensive for anyone to have to replace,” he said.

So Ms. Wilson researched websites to help Mr. Gausby find a home for his unused legs.

She found Ability Prosthetics & Orthopedics, a company that designs and fits patients with prosthetics and orthotic devices. Ability Prosthetics works with nonprofits like Physicians of Peace to fit people with new legs using parts from used prosthetics.

Mr. Gausby said his desire to help those in need comes from his late father, the Rev. Philip Gausby, an Episcopalian priest at St. Paul’s Church, Waddington.

“Maybe he is up there telling me to do this, I don’t know. But I feel like I should do it,” he said. “They are sitting around doing nothing but collecting dust. Why not give it to somebody that can use it?”

Mr. Gausby’s old prosthetics were shipped to Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc., in Exton, Pa., on Tuesday. The shipping of the limbs was paid for by The UPS Store, Potsdam.

“Speaking with Tresa and learning about Dave and his desire to help other people, we knew it was a great cause and to do a little bit to help out if we could,” UPS Store manager Derek C. Jackson said. “That way Dave, who is donating so much, doesn’t have to give any more than he can. We knew we had that ability and we were more than happy to help out.”

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