In Memory of Kenny Gerardot

Father of the Bride

Kenny Gerardot passed away in early 2015, and the SRT family sends our condolences to his family. We honor Kenny’s memory by continuing to share his story…

There are certain milestones in everyone’s life that they are simply not willing to give up. For Kenny Gerardot of Bluffton, Indiana, dancing at his daughter’s wedding was one of those milestones. For over 30 years, Gerardot drove a gasoline tanker in Indiana and Ohio. During one of his trips, he noticed a sore on the bottom of his foot that progressively got worse. Gangrene had set in, and a few days later, his left leg was amputated below the knee. After returning home from the hospital, Kenny’s first few weeks at home were challenging. “I didn’t even have enough energy to walk from my car to the house. I used a walker for a while until I finally got a wheelchair,” says Kenny. Three months after returning home from the hospital, Kenny joined the SRT family and was fit for his first prosthesis by his practitioner, Shawn Brown. “My first week with my prosthesis, I was so excited to finally walk again that I went camping with a Boy Scouts troop in Huntington, Indiana,” says Kenny. “It was a lot of fun, but I admit I was still in a lot of pain.” Like any father, when Kenny found out that his daughter, Michelle, was engaged, he was very excited, and also very determined that his amputation wouldn’t stand in his way of dancing with his daughter. He attended his first Amputee Walking School in January of 2010 where he met Dennis Oehler and Todd Shaffhauser, instructors of the school. “At first I thought I was an oddball. I didn’t know there were so many other amputees in the area,” states Gerardot. Kenny quickly found a kinship with Dennis Oehler, and after hearing Kenny’s desire to dance at his daughter’s wedding, Dennis immediately changed tactics and turned the Amputee Walking School into the Amputee Dancing School. Kenny didn’t stop there. A few months later, he enrolled in a class at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he took lessons from dance instructor Amy Shuldt. With an endless amount of determination, Kenny’s hard work paid off, and he reached his milestone of dancing with his daughter at her wedding in early May of this year. “Shawn Brown and everyone at SRT have been very helpful to me,” says Kenny. All of the technicians and office staff have been a great support system.” In Kenny’s spare time, he enjoys camping with his family and spending time in the yard landscaping around his house. He also enjoys working out on a regular basis at the Turnstone Center in Fort Wayne, walking and lightly jogging three miles every other day. He also loves spending time with his wife, Lu, two daughters, Michelle and Jennifer, and his ten grandchildren, Aubrey, Austin, Mia, Lucas, Conner, Shawn, Chris, Orion, Dominick and Shelly, who refer to his prosthesis as “the robotic foot.” “Kids have a natural curiosity to see my leg,” says Kenny. “I don’t have a problem sharing my story with people. In fact, not too long ago I met an amputee at a health fair in Scottsburg, Indiana. He was still in a wheelchair, and chose not to wear a prosthesis due to his fear of falling. He asked me what I do when I fall and I simply told him, “I roll on my knees, and get up.”

“I know that at SRT, their focus is on me, and not just the part that’s missing. With SRT’s help, I was able to dance at my daughter’s wedding, and it meant the world to both of us”.

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