North Chattanooga restaurant owner on a mission to bring mobility and help to those in need
After 17 years of serving tapas and wine, Efren Ormaza will close his doors at Terra Nostra, but it's not for retirement.
"I have some passion here and I feel like I have to give something back," Ormaza said.
And Ormaza is giving back by giving others desperately needed prosthetic limbs to help them walk.
"So we're going to try to give legs to as many people as possible," Ormaza added.
Ormaza will be doing that through his Penipe Foundation.
"I'll be working a lot with the foundation helping the people with the prosthetic leg because I was able to fit this leg on him and then very soon two or three more people showed up with the need of a leg," Ormaza added.
For the last ten years, Efren has organized medical mission trips to help those in need in Ecuador. He was inspired to try and help as many people as possible after meeting that man who was missing a limb.
"I met a guy who had lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, so he was just laying in the bed totally depressed," Ormaza said.
Ormaza partnered with a company who provides the prosthetic. He and doctors travel to a very remote area in the Amazon jungle a few times every year. He says it is very common for people in this area to lose a leg from something like a motorcycle accident or diabetes.
"They live in very primitive conditions, some of them they don't have water or electricity they have to walk a couple of hours just to get a couple of gallons of water to bring back home," Ormaza said.
Ormaza says without help, these people have no hope because they don't have access, and there are no resources available there. He's just glad to be able to help.
"It's very rewarding for me to be able to help somebody to pretty much change their life," Ormaza said.
Ormaza's next trip is scheduled for May. He's also planning for future trips in other parts of Ecuador. There's an upcoming event to help raise money for medical supplies and additional prosthetic, as for his restaurant, they will officially close on July 6th.
The "A Leg For Bernabe" fundraiser on April 24 from 6:00 pm - 9 p.m. will help raise money for medical supplies and additional prosthetics.
Terra Nostra Thanks Chattanooga is an upcoming event that will take place on July 2 from 6-9 p.m.