When industrial designer Ernie Meadows and his wife, Marj, lost their daughter, Ellen, Ernie decided to create a legacy to their daughter’s memory. Ellen died in an automobile accident when she was 18 years old.
Originally Ernie intended to design a functional prosthetic hand for children and adolescent land mine victims. Over time he developed a design for a low-cost, light, durable, functional prosthetic hand. He knew that this would help all who need a prosthetic hand and who could not afford the available alternatives.
The LN-4 prosthetic hand is used by people injured by landmines, work accidents, electricity, acts of violence, or a congenital condition.
In 2006, Ernie gave this prosthetic hand to Rotarian friends, specifically to the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation, specifying that no one profit from the production or distribution and that no recipient be charged. Domestic and International Rotary Clubs have been instrumental in providing funding, time, and effort from production manufacturing through distribution and personal support. Youth groups and churches were also instrumental to assembly and checking for quality. Today, corporate partner Odyssey Teams now assembles and produces the LN-4.
Since the start of 2008, thousands of LN-4s have been produced. The Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation works with Rotary clubs and other friends, and partners around the world to organize fitting events for large numbers of people; LN-4 teams have carried LN-4s to the countries of East Africa, Colombia, Ecuador, Vietnam, India, Jordan and more. Smaller numbers of LN-4s have been carried by traveling Rotarians and friends to many other places.
Ernie’s goal is to work with additional Rotary Clubs in more places to ensure the delivery of the LN-4 to where ever it is needed and where ever it can be of use.