You never know when you might be able to help someone. Parker Cylinder Applications Engineer Ernie Lunski, Jr. found his opportunity just down the street.
The teenaged daughter of one of his neighbors in Laguna Niguel, CA was struck by a car and suffered severe brain damage. She couldn't walk, talk, or eat solid food. But her doctors said she might recover with the appropriate physical therapy. Among other things, they prescribed a routine whereby family and friends would place her on a special wood table and rotate it back and forth to a 457 angle four times a day. The objective was to give her the sensation of movement to stimulate some brain function.
But performing such a routine was physically demanding, requiring about eight volunteers for each session. Four on a side, they would alternately lift the table so the girl would roll to each side. One of the volunteers was Ernie's wife, Mollie, who suggested that he find a way to help. He did. He designed a "flipping table" with pneumatic circuits that would do the work for the volunteers.
Essentially, the table is a queen-size aluminum platform, which Ernie's Parker colleague Luck Chand designed. Ernie designed the pneumatic circuits, using cylinders, valves, and fittings donated by Parker. The company also donated the ParFrame structural framing.
Result: Pneumatic operation of the table now requires only two volunteers rather than the previous eight. Most important, the flipping therapy, along with other therapy, is stimulating the girl's brain. While she has yet to throw out her arms to protect herself from falling, as the doctors are hoping she will, her mother reports that she continues to become more aware.
It took time to get the concept and build the flipping table-six of Ernie's weekends, in fact. But, he says it was worthwhile. "Just seeing her progress a little is a great feeling," he says.
"I've always wanted to help people, but never had been able to," says Ernie. "This was a unique opportunity."
We all should be looking for such unique opportunities.