Jake Speed Sightings!


surfin' USA!
Triple amputee Jake Speed rides a wave during Operation Restoration IV, 15 August 2009, in Pismo Beach, Calif. Speed lost the bottom portion of both his legs and his right arm from frostbite when he was caught out in a storm in Greenland for three days while on a research trip. He received his prosthetic legs just two weeks before this photo was taken!

Yes...on 15 August, Jake was observed and photographed by the news media at Pismo Beach...on a surfboard! This guy is totally incredible, as is the AMPSURF organization, which sponsors activities such as this to promote rehabilitation of amputees. The above photo is used here by special permission from the photographer, Ezra Shaw (© Ezra Shaw/Getty Images). Thanks, Ezra!

And at the end of September 2009, Jake Speed and wife Kathy Blumm visited Denver and stopped by the Raytheon offices:

greetings from Greenland
A couple of photos of Jake talking to the Denver Polie crowd, which here includes Joe Crane, Beth Watson and Joe Tarnow.
ice talk
Talking with Dog (Doug Forsythe) and Jack Corbin...
...and greeting Al Baker and Paul Sullivan.
hugs on
Hugging on Al Baker.
look ma
Kathy watching as Jake starts to demonstrate the hardware.
cool tools

Showing Paul the hook.
cool water

Showing everyone how the hook works. He's getting very good at it!
how it's done

Here's how it is done.
tie one on

A view of the amazing arm from another angle.
a flip of the wrist

Talking about the skin grafts on his left wrist.
give the man a hand

Lots of scars, more healing to go yet.
get the point

The engineers were fascinated by the hardware. This is Jake showing off his legs...
getting a leg up on your coworkers
Paul checking out the leg.
minds are drifting
And, of course, right back to work with Andy, perhaps
contemplating the drifting and the dome demolition.

Comments from Beth Watson, "It was SO wonderful to see them! So wonderful! It was like a ray of healing light just went through everyone. There he was, standing almost as tall as he had been, bounding around as sure footed as ever...Dangnation, Bill. He's as Jake-like as ever! He's had (and continues to have) a enormously hard road to recovery. He still has a lot of real and phantom pain. But you would never know it if you didn't ask. His spirit is so positive! Oh, Man. Was it so great to see him!"

And I wish I could have been there in person. So what is next for Jake? They headed back to NZ in mid-October 2009...looking forward to getting home. They were still in the middle of treatments and prosthetic development, and there were other trips back to the US to work with the doctors. They both seemed really pleased with the treatment they have been receiving and will continue to work with their doc's here.

Now, about the Jake Speed Fund! It was created (now closed) and amazingly raised more than $36,000! That has been turned over to them, for which they are EXTREMELY grateful! Yes, we know that workers compensation pays for the basic treatment, and it has been treating Jake well, but it doesn't pay for everything and it doesn't pay a salary! So the contributions were extremely welcome, you know who you are!

After the office visit, Kathy, Jake, and other folks repaired to a local establishment for further celebration...this photo from Steffen Richter:

an ice crowd

Except as noted, the photos on this page were taken by Al Baker, and are seen here with help (and some captions) from Beth Watson.

Next...more back story and photos of Jake!