Today, the life of a young man from Panama will be changed. And it wouldn’t be happening if not for the chairman of Three Floyds Brewing Co. in Munster, his wife and the Center for Orthotic & Prosthetic Excellence LLC based in Chicago and St. John.
About 18 months ago Michael Floyd and his wife, Jheaneth Pimentel Floyd, hosted a holiday party at their home in Panama.
“Truly a Panamanian affair where everyone turns up,” Michael Floyd said.
And Sergio Robles came. He was introduced to Jheaneth Floyd by a friend and well-known Panamanian soccer player. Robles lost both limbs below the knees in an accident when he was 6. He had prosthetics, but they were old and ill-fitting. He could barely walk and was covered with blisters where his legs joined the device. He asked for help.
“I think there’s something we could do for this,” Jheaneth Floyd had said.
She contacted a longtime family friend, Robert Morgan, business manager for COPE. Together they arranged for Robles to travel to COPE’s St. John site to receive new state-of-the-art prosthetics.
Free of charge.
COPE will pick up the cost of the prosthetics and Robles will reside with the Floyds during his three-week stay.
“I wasn’t party to the request my wife made,” Michael Floyd said. “She’s cheeky (persistent). I would never have dared ask Bob. Bob is very generous. I was looking around to try and scrape up $15,000 to $20,000 somehow.”
Robles will be treated by orthotist/prosthetist Brett White and prosthetist resident and technician Felix Martinez, or as Morgan calls them, “the dynamic duo.”
“These guys change individuals’ lives,” Morgan said. “That’s for sure.”
The Floyds said the generosity of Morgan and COPE “is massive.” But that’s where it ends, Michael Floyd said.
“I would never go near him again and ask him for anything else,” he said.
Michael Floyd said the need he and his wife see in Panama now places an obligation on them, fortunate as they are.
“It opens up a chapter which makes me wonder if we need a trust or a charity set up in Panama,” he said. “We have some wealthy Panamanian relatives and friends. We can bring the story of Robles to them. Think about what can be done with funds we might be able to generate. And it raises some interesting avenues COPE may or may not want to explore.”
Floyd said there are “super doctors and a great hospital” in Panama but probably a demand for prosthetic services.
Chicago has world-class prosthetic facilities, so perhaps COPE can help contribute somehow to bring the same to Panama.
“There are a lot of opportunities,” Morgan said.