Man in need of help gets a leg up from Problem Solvers

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OLATHE, Kan. -- When Reynaldo Diebolt works the grill at Golden Corral in Olathe, customers line up.

"He's very nice," said manager Marisa Gomez. "He's like my best cook."

As much as Gomez praises Diebolt, she also worries about him.

"I know he's struggling every day because he's in pain," she said with tears in her eyes.

Diebolt has polio. The leg brace he relies on is more than 15 years old. It's held together with zip ties, duct tape and even parts he found at an automotive store. It isn't a comfortable fit, but it's all he can afford, so he never complains.

"He's like, 'well, you know I've learned to live with it,'" Gomez said. "But I think that no human should. If there is help out there, he should get some help."

It was Gomez who introduced Fox 4 Problem Solvers to Diebolt. He told us he contracted polio when he was six years old in Mexico.

"I had to walk by holding my leg to keep it collapsing from under me," he recalled. "I used to walk like a dog on all fours."

It was not long afterwards he moved to the United States and was adopted. The leg braces and health care he received as a child, however, disappeared once he was an adult. He has always worked, but not in jobs that offer health coverage.
He just keeps repairing the brace he has, hoping it will last another year.

"It hurts from the moment I put it on," Diebolt admitted.

And that can be hard to hear for those who care about him, but Diebolt says it's something he has grown to accept.
But Fox 4 Problem Solvers knew there was a solution and we found out at the Hanger Clinic in Olathe. Hanger specializes in braces and prosthetics. Once we shared Diebolt's story with them, they didn't hesitate to offer their services free of charge.

"Our goal would be to get him something less on the automotive side and more on the clinical side of something appropriate," said Emily Perkins of Hanger.

"I feel lucky, happy," said Diebolt as he was fitted and measured for a new brace.

"We feel pretty lucky that you found us," Perkins told him.

By the way, for the first time in his adult life Mr. Diebolt does have health insurance. But even with the insurance, paying for a new brace would have been difficult without the generous help he's receiving from Hanger. Fox 4 Problem Solvers will be back in two weeks when that new brace is ready.