The Tools of the Trade

A tear slid down Ashleigh Bentz’s cheek as she opened the toolbox … a shoe horn, a pipe cutter, clamps.

The tools that helped make Marvin Hohbein the master prosthetist that he was for decades at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis now were held tenderly in the hands of a former patient who had followed in his footsteps.

“It was surreal,” said Ashleigh, a certified orthotic and prosthetic assistant for a hospital system in Springfield, Missouri. “Now I’ve got a piece of Marv for the rest of my career.”

To understand how the toolbox ended up in her possession and why it means so much to her, you have to forget the mature and successful woman she is now and see her as the insecure, bullied girl who had her right leg amputated when she was 2. And you have to know that Marvin was an amputee, too.

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