Kenneth (Ken) Brunke

Family Man, Marine Veteran + Business Owner.

It’s late Summer and he is arriving home after giving his brother-in-law a lift. As he walks up to his house he is greeted by his cat, sunbathing in the North Carolina sun. His spritely children run around as he sits down at the home computer, excited to review and edit a recent photo shoot with his then pregnant wife. Now, she cradles the newborn in her arms and joins him, pointing out the best shots. 

On December 29th, 2015, Ken reenlisted during his fifth year in the Marine Corps, committing to another four years. Out of the 21 Marines who reenlisted and applied for his job position, only seven were accepted, including Ken. “What I didn’t know at the time was only two months later I’d cut off my fingers.”

The Last Cut

The day of his accident, Ken had joined his nine-months pregnant wife, Shy, a professional photographer, and his daughter at a nearby field for a photoshoot. Once they were home Ken delved back into his workshop to finish a vision for their new son’s room: his name on the wall in a pallet style. “It was the last cut, I only needed a piece about an inch long.” His hand behind the blade, pushing the board through, the table saw cut off. As he pulled his hand away it turned back on, throwing his hand across the blade. “We were living on base at the time in North Carolina, so all of my neighbors were Marines. As soon as my buddy next door heard me cry out ‘I cut my fingers off!’ he was already running over.” Ken recalls his friend whipping off his belt and quickly making a tourniquet on his arm. “It was so fast, he was already on the phone with the medics. I looked back at my wife and asked her to get Nate, our other neighbor, to bring his tourniquet.” At the same time, a military officer arrived quickly followed by the ambulance. Ken stood up and started walking toward the ambulance, claiming to the officer trying to get him to stay seated “my fingers are chopped off, not my legs.” His adrenaline was peaking. 

“I passed out in the ambulance, waking up in the hospital room surrounded by my family and friends.” Unfortunately, not all his fingers could be saved. “My thumb was already black and the only finger with circulation was my middle finger.”

My occupational therapist, Jennifer, heard about Naked Prosthetics at a conference. “She knew after our first appointment that this was the device for me. She was my therapist, occupational therapist, mental therapist, everything.” 

After therapy and recovering, the Marine Corps expected him to maintain the same standard of physical ability as before his accident. Instead of forcing himself through this process, he closed that chapter of his life. After seven years as a Marine, Ken retired and shared with us he was ready to move on with the help of his Naked Prosthetics devices. 

A New Start

With his device he has gained the confidence and functionality to embark on a lifetime dream, his own woodworking business. KB WouldWork started as a passion project for Ken, spending time in his garage creating beautiful cutting boards and experimenting with burning techniques.

With the addition of three MCPDrivers and a ThumbDriver, he has been able to regain fine dexterity and perform natural grip patterns necessary for these skills. Now that he has retired from the Marines, the business is a full time effort. Check out some of his work! “I let myself mourn for a day and move on. I realized after that I love woodworking and once I had my device I was able to do it more than just a hobby, I’ve made it a business.” 

Ken is an active member of the Facebook Group, helping to facilitate group calls and sharing milestones like doing his daughter’s hair again and throwing up the peace sign after recovery! Ken and Shy live in a cozy home in North Carolina with their four children and two pets. At the time of the accident his daughter was only two years old, now four years old she proudly replies when asked what dad wears: “a prosthetic!”

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Jeanie McGarvey | Advocate

Jeanie is based out of Ohio where she wears four PIPDrivers, three MCPDrivers, and one ThumbDriver.

Read her story here.

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Jaime Perkins | Ambassador

Jaime Perkins injured four of his fingers while working with a jointer in his workshop in 2020. A well-respected builder, he joins Naked Prosthetics with his own audience of over 606,000 YouTube channel subscribers for Perkins Builder Brothers, a company started by his architect father, that he shares with his brother, Erik. Jaime joined as a NPChampion Ambassador after experiencing for himself the functionality afforded by the MCPDrivers. Jaime lives in North Carolina with his wife Jaime and their three children.

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Matt Finney | Ambassador

At age 36, Matt lost several digits due to vascular occlusion. After a several-year struggle that led him down a dark and troubled path, Matt found his way to Naked Prosthetics to become the first to wear each of the three custom, body-driven devices together: one PIPDriverTM, one MCPDriverTM, and one ThumbDriverTM. Because of his directness and candor, Matt has become a popular addition to conferences and speaking engagements that Naked Prosthetics participates in. Matt now owns his own successful concrete finishing business, something he says wouldn’t have been possible without the technology behind his devices.

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Moises Aramburo | Ambassador

Moises spends his time traveling between California and Mexico. In the Summer of 2012, Moises and his friend took their truck out after a tropical storm in Mexico to assess the local damage. While towing a vehicle stuck in the flood, they decided to try something new – boogie boarding on the flooded streets. An accident with the rope caused four of his fingers on his right hand to be torn off. Moises wears a four-digit GripLock finger with socketing from the Ossur team.

GLF Designed + Manufactured by Naked Prosthetics. Socket Fabrication by Hanger Clinic and Össur.

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Natasha Baggett | Ambassador

Natasha lost two of her fingers to a woodworking accident at home in 2019. A beef and poultry farmer, artist, and mother to five girls, Natasha wears two of our MCPDrivers and was a beta tester for our Conductive Tip and Rose Gold finish. Since her accident, she has devoted much of her time and energy to the amputee community, sharing her journey and helping other amputees find acceptance and purpose from within. For those reasons and more, Natasha is a welcome addition to the NPChampion Ambassador family and a warm and engaging advocate for the amputee community.

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Nick Armstrong | Ambassador

As a beta tester for Naked Prosthetics, Nick Armstrong was instrumental in the development of the MCPDriver. At the time Nick suffered a workplace injury in 2012 that left him with amputations on five of his fingers, prosthetic options that would allow him to get back to work as a welder and auto mechanic and back to taking care of his farm didn’t exist. In 2015 Naked Prosthetics began testing the MCPDriver, and Nick provided the necessary real-life testing and feedback to assure the devices’ performance in harsh environments. Nick lives in Illinois and speaks alongside NP regularly to groups about his story and the functionality and confidence his devices provide.

Trevor Thibodeux | Ambassador

Born and raised in Louisiana, Trevor is a calm soul with a southern charm that draws you in. Trevor’s left hand was injured on the job in late 2020, repairing a machine that feeds, cuts, and seals velcro. While fixing the machine the operator started up the machine and the blade took his middle and ring finger, cutting the tendon on his index finger, and crushing his pinkie. As our newest NPChampion Ambassador, he wears two MCPDrivers and is motivated by the thought of helping someone like himself no longer be afraid of life.

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Ashley Umbaugh | Advocate

A mother to two young children, it is important for her to not miss a thing. Outdoor enthusiast and whim taker, Ashley, was trying something new, riding a motorcycle. In the Summer of 2021 she joined her husband on the road when she lost control of the bike. In an attempt to save her leg from being crushed, she threw her hand to rest on the band which sucked her fingers into the sprocket and amputated her middle finger. Her device has given her more than function, it has given her hope. With the help of her MCPDriver, she wants to spread hope to everyone in this community.

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John Powers | Advocate

John is an artist based out of New York. He wears one ThumbDriver and one MCPDriver.

Read his story here.

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Kenneth Brunke | Advocate

Father of four, Marine Corps Veteran, and woodworker, Ken, lost his left thumb, index finger, ring and pinkie finger in a table saw accident mid 2021. Ken’s three-digit MCPDriver and ThumbDriver has allowed him to turn his woodworking skills from a hobby into a full business. His unabashed willingness to share his story through humor and charm are a welcome addition to the NPChampions program.

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Michael Stanton | Advocate

Michael brings energy and positivity to every conversation he has and is sure to leave you with a smile. A splinter was all it took. Early 2019 Michael was working when a small piece of wood lodged itself into his hand. Unfortunately, after removing it the wound became infected and required his right thumb to be amputated. With the help of his ThumbDriver, Michael hasn’t let this slow him down!

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Stephanie Brassard | Advocate

Stephanie lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and is passionate about inspiring other amputees to know that losing fingers isn’t the end and that they can overcome challenges that they may face. Self proclaimed “accident prone” sawmill worker and physical trainer, Stephanie, wasn’t surprised when she crushed her fingers. In November, 2019 she went to grease a machine when she noticed it was still on. Before she could pull away it had grabbed onto her hand, removing her left thumb and pointer finger. Stephanie wears one MCPDriver and a ThumbDriver. She wants to help inspire other amputees to know that losing fingers is not the end and that they too can overcome challenges.

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Tammy Stolle | Advocate

Tammy is a court reporter in South Dakota and wears one MCPDriver.

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Alycia Kerrigan-Mize | Agent

College student and competitive swimmer Alycia lost a majority of her pinkie finger in an accident at only 15 years old. With the use of her PIPDriver, she’s rediscovered her confidence and uses her platforms to share her story and inspire others.

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John Hillard | Agent

Retired Navy Veteran, John is settled in Noblesville, Indiana. After losing his thumb in a circular saw accident, he regained functionality with his ThumbDriver and is back to creating beautiful woodworking pieces.

John Thompson | Agent

John wears two MCPDrivers. Born and raised in Brandon, Mississippi, he lives with his wife and daughter and enjoys staying active outdoors.

Nelisiwe Nxumalo | Agent

Nelisiwe wears two MCPDrivers. An adventurous and captivating woman, she travels the world sharing snaps along the way.

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Darrel Comeau | Ambassador

Darrel joins us from Alberta, Canada after losing much of his index finger in a workplace accident late in 2017. He was checking a fit up for one of his crew members when an improperly tacked steel beam dropped on his finger. A jack of many trades, Darrel is not only a construction site foreman but also a gifted photographer. He wears an MCPDriver. As some of his biggest fans, Naked Prosthetics looks forward to highlighting his work and his story.

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