Honoring and Remembering Paul Leimkuehler - WWII Veteran, O & P Leader and Adaptive Skiing Pioneer

Union Orthotics and Prosthetics Co. would like to truly thank all U.S. military veterans for their sacrifice and service.

On this Veterans Day, we would like to remember a veteran that is very special to Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. - Paul Leimkuehler. We honor Paul for his brave military service and sacrifice in WWII, and his amazing contributions, foundation, and service to the O & P field and adaptive skiing movement. You can learn about Paul Leimkuehler's inspiring story below and get the bigger picture from Katie Leimkuehler's documentary film Fresh Tracks Film.

WWII veteran Paul Leimkuehler

WWII Veteran
In World War II, Paul Leimkuehler honorably served in the Rhineland Campaign (Europe) as a Second Lieutenant, Platoon Leader in Company K of the U.S. Army’s 84th Infantry Division also known as the “Railsplitters.” 

During combat in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes region of Belgium, Paul was severely wounded by shrapnel and lost his left leg, above the knee. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his war injury.

Visit Freshtracksfilm.com - War Hero to learn more about Paul in WWII.

Check out these additional informative veteran and military records: 

  • Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
    Paul Leimkuehler was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 1996.

  • Roster of Officers and Enlisted Men 84th Infantry Division
    Paul Leimkuehler - Second Lieutenant, Platoon Leader can be found on page 20 of the records.

  • Chronicle of the 84th Infantry Division during WWII
    View a chronicle of the 84th Infantry Division (Railsplitters) - from arrival in England in October 1944 through the Battle of the Bulge through to the occupation of Germany in 1945.

Orthotics & Prosthetics Leader
While convalescing his war wounds at McGuire General Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, he convinced the hospital staff in the limb lab to put his mechanical engineering skills to work by helping them create braces and fabricated artificial legs. After his military service, he studied at University of California, New York University, and Northwestern University and founded Leimkuehler Limb Company in 1948. His three sons, Jon, Bob, and Bill, joined him as practitioners and each own their own orthotics and prosthetic companies in Cleveland, Leimkuehler Orthotic and Prosthetic Center, Inc. and Leimkuehler Inc. and Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. in Pittsburgh.

Visit Freshtracksfilm.com - Orthotics and Prosthetics Leader to learn more about Paul's role and influence in local and regional O & P.

Father of 3-Track Adaptive Skiing
After Paul Leimkuehler lost his leg in WWII, he sought out to pursue sports for amputees.

On a visit to Seven Springs Ski Resort in Pennsylvania, while his friends were on the slopes, Paul sat in the lodge and talked with an Austrian ski instructor who told him all about European amputee skiers.  That conversation prompted Leimkuehler to quickly develop his own outriggers designed from sawed-off crutches attached to shortened children's skis. Leimkuehler and fellow amputee Stan Zakas started skiing with the first outriggers in the U.S. and the word spread. Leimkuehler shared his discoveries with the amputee community and purposely didn't patent the device so that other amputees could copy it.

Visit Freshtracksfilm.com - Ski Legend to learn more about Paul as a pioneer in adaptive skiing.

Fresh Tracks Film
This true-life documentary follows the journey of Paul Leimkuehler, who lost his leg during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII and turned his amputation into an opportunity by building his own artificial leg and opening a prosthetic business.

WWII veteran Paul Leimkuehler

He returns to the world of sports triumphantly after designing the first pair of ski outriggers in the U.S. launching the adaptive skiing movement that earned him a spot in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, the U.S. Disabled Snow Sports Hall of Fame and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. The film follows the influence of his legacy on the Paralympic skiers and snowboarders today including gold medalist, Mike Schultz, and gold medalist and narrator Andrew Kurka on the evolving of technology in adaptive sports. 

Watch the film trailer below and visit www.freshtracksfilm.com for the rest of the story!

About Union O & P

Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. is a family-owned and operated company with over 100 years of service in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. We have always been dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care with a professional and compassionate approach. Our services and techniques are continuously being upgraded to achieve the highest standard of excellence. Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. is extremely proud to provide O & P services to our veterans.


Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. and De La Torre Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. now offer 19 locations throughout Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Services may vary by location.