Education

Middle Georgia State grad finds silver lining in tragedy

Life obstacle leads man to new career field

After losing his leg in an industrial accident, Brian White was inspired to pursue a career in prosthetics. He is graduating from Middle Georgia State University with a degree in biology and will start the prosthetics and orthotics master’s degree
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After losing his leg in an industrial accident, Brian White was inspired to pursue a career in prosthetics. He is graduating from Middle Georgia State University with a degree in biology and will start the prosthetics and orthotics master’s degree

A challenging life obstacle steered Brian White to his new career field.

The 35-year-old just completed his biology degree from Middle Georgia State University and will start the prosthetics and orthotics master’s degree program at Georgia Tech this fall. He lives in Cadwell with wife, Alicia, and their children Brody, 8, and Millie, 2.

White previously worked in the industrial industry, but in 2010 he lost one of his legs in a workplace accident. He knew he would have to find another career, and he realized his calling during his recovery.

Steve Miller, regional vice president for the prosthetics and orthotics company Hanger Clinic, built White’s prosthetic leg and was a huge source of encouragement and inspiration for him, White said.

Miller is also an amputee, having lost a leg from cancer at age 11. He learned firsthand how important — and life-changing — good-fitting prosthetics could be.

Doctors told White that he would probably never be able to walk even with a prosthetic, but Miller had a “can-do attitude” and assured him that he could.

And he did.

“Whenever I first lost my leg, nobody could relate to me,” White said. “Then I met Steve, and he’s doing prosthetic work and he’s missing a leg. I can relate to him, and it gave me hope for the future. It was a turning point, and I want to do that for other people.”

White is among 14 students who’ve been accepted into Georgia Tech’s two-year prosthetics program. Miller was one of the first people he called when he learned the good news. White wants to build prosthetics for other amputees and offer them support like he received.

“He wanted to help others achieve what he’s achieved in life,” Miller said. “He’s going to be absolutely great. He’s lived through it. He’s come out on the other end.

“He knows that something like an amputation should never slow you down, and life is still there and you can make the most of it. He can be a huge inspiration for his patients in the future.”

Andrea Honaker: 478-744-4382, @TelegraphAndrea

College undergraduate commencements

CENTRAL GEORGIA TECHNICAL COLLEGE

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Macon Coliseum

Undergraduate class: More than 600

Speaker: Alvetta Peterman Thomas, president at Southern Crescent Technical College

FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY

When: 9:30 a.m. Saturday

Where: Health and Physical Education Complex, Fort Valley

Speaker: Actress Karan Kendrick

GEORGIA COLLEGE & STATE UNIVERSITY

When: Saturday, 8:45 a.m. for College of Arts and Sciences and 1:45 p.m. for College of Business, College of Education and College of Health Sciences

Where: Georgia College Centennial Center, Milledgeville

Undergraduate class: 464

Speaker: Cedric Howard, vice president for student affairs at State University of New York at Fredonia

GEORGIA MILITARY COLLEGE: MILLEDGEVILLE

When: 10 a.m. May 26

Where: Georgia College Centennial Center, Milledgeville

Undergraduate class: 303

Speaker: Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

GEORGIA MILITARY COLLEGE: WARNER ROBINS

When: 2 p.m. June 10

Where: Homer J. Walker Civic Center, Warner Robins

Undergraduate class: Around 120

Speaker: State Rep. Shaw Blackmon

GORDON STATE COLLEGE

When: 8:30 a.m. May 12

Where: Lambdin Green in the center of campus, Barnesville

Undergraduate class: 314

Speaker: Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr., regent for the University System of Georgia

MERCER UNIVERSITY

When: 3:30 p.m. May 13

Where: Hawkins Arena, Macon

Undergraduate class: 531

Speakers: J. Reginald Murphy, journalist and business executive, and graduating senior Alayna Williams

MIDDLE GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

When: 2 p.m. Wednesday for School of Health Sciences; 10 a.m. May 11 for College of Arts & Sciences and the Georgia Academy; and 2 p.m. May 11 for School of Aviation, School of Business, School of Education and School of Information Technology

Where: Recreation and Wellness Center, Macon

Undergraduate class: Around 600

Speaker: Wednesday, Steve J. Daugherty, CEO of Coliseum Northside Hospital; and May 11, Herman Boone, the high school football coach portrayed in the movie “Remember the Titans”

WESLEYAN COLLEGE

When: 10 a.m. May 13

Where: Porter Auditorium, Macon

Undergraduate class: Around 110

Speaker: Actress Karan Kendrick

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