PANAMA CITY, Fla. — A Florida man was reunited with his prosthetic leg after losing it while surfing about a month ago.
Hess, a military veteran, lost his leg when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in 2012 while serving in Afghanistan.
He surfed for years before joining the military and was fitted for a specially built, $3,000 titanium leg at Walter Reed Medical Center. He surfed all over the world with the prosthetic.
But a wave crashed down on him last month and he lost it. He searched for days trying to find it.
“I knew immediately it was off of me. I’ve surfed in much bigger waves and it never came off like that,” Hess told the News Herald. “I don’t think I would have ever found it.”
Sebastien Morris, 13, found the $3,000 prosthetic in a jetty at St. Andrews Park while treasure hunting with his father. They started a social media campaign to find its owner.
Hess was reunited with the appendage Tuesday.
“I’ve been very upfront that this is an amazing, great young man,” Hess told the News Herald. “A lot of guys, especially treasure hunters, would have just put it in a trophy case — but he realized it could be important and someone could need it.”
Hess said he plans to go out surfing again this week, depending on the waves.
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