Purple Heart veteran gets prosthetic leg back after losing it at Tennessee lake

Ben Maenza (Photo: WKRN)

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With the help of others, a Purple Heart veteran who lost his prosthetic leg in Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville after a day of fun on the water now has it back.

Tim Cranford, a fisherman, who had helped the veteran load up his jet-ski learned of the missing prosthetic and later called on the Hendersonville Fire Department’s dive team to assist.

After four hours of searching, the team recovered the leg Wednesday night.

“Never looked for a leg before, but yeah glad to do it. It was good to do a little payback for what he’s done,” Captain Kevin Paseur said.

They had little to go on as the search for the owner began on social media.

“We hadn’t even met the guy, didn’t know his name, didn’t know if we could even find him,” Paseur explained.

“He had a veteran’s sticker so I knew that he was a veteran and he also had a Purple Heart license plate,” Cranford said.

“I posted all this stuff on Facebook. It kind of went crazy going to Hip Hendersonville, Hip Mt. Juliet, Gallatin,” he explained.

The post, shared numerous times on social media, found its way to Lance Corporal Ben Maenza, the owner of the prosthetic.

The double amputee lost his legs in an I.E.D. explosion in 2010. He said he is grateful for the hard work of everyone involved and wanted to personally thank them.

“When I saw it, I was speechless,” Maenza told the group that helped.

“I was grateful to do it, for their sacrifice for what they do for us,” expressed Eric Fontenot, who is with the fire department and helped find the leg.

Not only was Maenza reunited with his leg, but the group is already planning fishing trips together.

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