CAP director overcomes life-changing experiences

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During Limb Loss Awareness Month Prosthetics Patient Highlight, Julie, far right, was one of them recognized. Shown with her parents, Tom and Connie Kaiser, who have been by her side through her entire limm loss journey, Julie was described as the agency's ever-so-positive patient. "She became a left below-knee amputee in April of 2022," said Molly Null. "She says her greatest accomplishment has been walking without assistance. Julie certainly Inspires to Elevate!" (Courtesy photo)

GREENVILLE—Julie Bragg-Lecklider, Darke County director for Community Action Partnership (CAP), has had a couple of life-changing experiences in the last few years but has persevered through it all.

Her family’s home in northern Greenville was struck by lightning during a storm in 2016, and the other was when she was diagnosed with a flesh-eating disease in 2022.

The storm struck the roof of the home of the four-member family, who couldn’t move back in until eight months later.

Her diagnosis of Necrotizing Fasciitis led her to become an amputee in April 2022.

“It was either life or limb,” said Lecklider, who underwent prosthetic surgery on April 28, that year.

What caused this to occur?

“I thought I had the flu and I ended up at Miami Valley Hospital having surgery below the left knee the same night,” she recalled.

Julie Lecklider shows off her prosthetic leg. (LInda Moody photo)

Necrotizing Fasciitis, according to one website, is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death. Accurate diagnosis, rapid antibiotic treatment, and prompt surgery are important to stopping this infection.

Symptoms of this disease include pain, redness of the skin, swelling, blisters, fluid collection, skin discoloration and sensation and numbness.

Her lifestyle was an active one…being a wife, mother of two children and CAC director with many duties…and still is, thanks to her positive attitude.

She was determined she would stay that way and get through this.

After the surgery, she was in the hospital and rehab for 41 days; the latter taking part in the Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio (RIO)

“It was amazing in there at RIO,” she said.

She was off work from mid-July through mid-August and started working part-time, working from home for awhile part-time and eventually went full-time at home and now she’s back in the office.

Julie Lecklider is back in her office at CAP where she is Darke County director. (Linda Moody photo)

Lecklider, a 1991 graduate of Ansonia High School, took some classes at Edison State and held such jobs at the Coppess grocery store in Ansonia, a factory and in the office at Kmart before starting at CAP in 1997. However, she left two years later to work at Angel in Dayton. She returned to CAP in Darke County in 2003 as housing inspector and worked her way up to director.

Lecklider had worked most of that time for former director, Janey Christman, who died in 2016.

Lecklider has been aided in her experience with being an amputee by Action Prosthetics, which has an office in Troy full-time and one in Greenville one day a week.

“I have gone to both offices,” she said. “I will go to Karl’s lab in Troy if I have to get an adjustment done.”
She first had a wheelchair and then learned to walk with a walker. She started therapy at Western Ohio Therapy in Greenville, and then at Wayne Outpatient Rehabilitation south of the local hospital.

“My two therapists, Michelle and Nicole, at Wayne were the best,” Lecklider said.

During Limb Loss Awareness Month Prosthetics Patient Highlight, Julie, far right, was one of them recognized. Shown with her parents, Tom and Connie Kaiser, who have been by her side through her entire limm loss journey, Julie was described as the agency’s ever-so-positive patient. “She became a left below-knee amputee in April of 2022,” said Molly Null. “She says her greatest accomplishment has been walking without assistance. Julie certainly Inspires to Elevate!” (Courtesy photo)

She, like other amputees, have the opportunity to attend A.C.T.I.O.N. Amputation Group meetings monthly at Marion’s Piazza in Troy.

“You get to hear each other’s stories at group therapy,” said Julie, who enjoys them but indicated some of her other activities at work and with her family limit her attendance.

“I didn’t like the wheelchair,” said Lecklider, who will mark her 50th birthday on Sept. 27, “It was exhausting. I was used to walking all of the time and it was a big adjustment.”

When asked if she experiences what some amputees have reported as phantom pain, she replied that she didn’t experience much of that but knew what to look for if she did.

She is so indebted to Molly Null, a former Darke County resident, who is also an amputee and involved in the Action Prosthetics.

“Molly came to see me at rehab,” Julie said. “She is absolutely amazing. Molly and I want to do a 5K. One of my goals is to do it with her. I don’t have any desire to run but some people do. It’s amazing what they’ve got now.”

Lecklider’s first prosthetic leg.

Does she have any limitations?

“I have to check my leg everyday to make sure it’s all right,” replied Julie, who indicated she had to learn to walk in grass and other terrain at rehab. “This is my second prosthetic leg; the first one didn’t feel right.”

When it comes to her relationship with Molly Null, the feelings are mutual, according to some comments Molly has made about her.

“Oh happy day for our new Action Prosthetics’ patient, Julie Lecklider. She took her FIRST STEPS on her prosthesis on Oct. 18. Have I mentioned how much I love my job? I am SO PROUD of Julie! It has been a JOY and a BLESSING to get to know Julie! We now have matching glitter prosthetic sockets! Our ever-so-positive patient, Julie became a left below knee amputee. She says her greatest accomplishment has been walking without assistance. Julie certainly inspires to elevate!”

Munn went on to say that as a new patient Julie had the Action Prosthetics Prosthetist Karl Burk fabricate a custom lamination for her prosthetic socket by adding glitter at our Action Prosthetics’ Troy lab.

“Julie shines brightly all on her own and her positive attitude shows in how well she is walking on her prosthesis,” Munn added. “I’m beyond proud of her!”

Others in Lecklider’s life who have been supportive of her are her parents, Tom and Connie Kaiser; husband Matt Lecklider, to whom she was married 21 years ago on July 29; and children Caden, a senior, and Kiera, a freshman, both at Greenville High School. Even her children’s friends are supportive when they come around the Lecklider household.

“Both of our children are active in winter swim, and Kiera is a football/basketball cheerleader, now in softball and on a summer travel team and she also dances for Barbara Rethlake,” Julie said.

Also by Julie’s side nowadays at home is her dog, Bristol, whom she adopted from the Humane Society in Butler County 11 years ago as a pup.

Lecklider, who attended the Great Darke County Fair last year…seeing the sights from a wheelchair, is a member of Rotary and had been a board member for Village Green.

Services provided by CAP include HEAP (winter and summer), Metro, a homeless shelter, a food box pantry, senior commodity boxes, a homeless crisis response program, Salvation Army, clothing bank run by two volunteers, Lyn Bliss and Dolores Ely, and a weatherisation program.

On staff there are Tonya Estel, Carol Littman, Heather Stith, Scott Lopez, Cassie Chalmers, Alicia Cromes, Tammy Meyers, Stacy Fourman and Chris Robinson.

She also noted that there is an opening for an administrative assistant, which they’ve never had before.

She believes the higher-ups saw the need for an assistant when she was unable to work for a period of time.

“Three people came in to do the job I was doing,’ Julie said. “Now they’re getting me help. There is also an opening for an apartment manager at Fox Run.”

Lecklider’s advice to others who have prosthetics or are expected to become amputees is, “Live life to the fullest. Love everyday to the fullest. I tried to stay positive.”