In Remembrance

Craig Appleby, Team Supervisor


ArmorGroup Mine Action Team Supervisor Craig Appleby died while manually neutralizing a cluster munition near the town of Bint Jbail, Lebanon on 11 October 2007. Appleby, 36, was working to clear an M77 cluster bomb when it exploded. Appleby joined the British Army as a Royal Engineer, specializing in explosive ordnance disposal. He spent 10 years on operational tours and exercises across the world, leaving the Army as a Staff Sergeant. Before his demining work with ArmorGroup in Lebanon, Appleby had served with other mine-action programs in Uganda, Rwanda, Libya and Oman.

Appleby was laid to rest at All Saint's Church, Wimbish, UK, on 1 November 2007. The church has a military cemetery where soldiers from Appleby's regiment, the 33 Engineer Regiment, are buried. He is survived by his wife, Amelia.

Steven Olejas, Chief Technical Advisor


Steven Olejas, Chief Technical Advisor to the UNDP in Algiers, died 11 December 2007 at the age of 39 in the terrorist bombing of the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees buildings in Algiers, Algeria. Steven had previously been active with Danish Church Aid, serving as the head of its Mine Action Department.

Steven traveled extensively and was regrettably in the UNDP building during the explosion. Known for his commitment to mine action, Steven was remembered for strong ideals and principles. He is survived by his wife, Susanne, and three children.

Capt. Alex Patergyn, Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Center


Senior naval officer Captain Alex Patergyn, 49, died 8 January 2008, in Sevastopol, Ukraine. Patergyn was Director of the Humanitarian Demining/Explosive Ordnance Disposal Department for the Ukrainian Mine Action Coordination Center. Colleagues cited Patergyn's extensive activity in demining, notably his active participation in the 2004 Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World.

Patergyn had previously received heavy combat injuries and mine trauma, having been heavily affected by toxic chemical pollutions during military duty and underwater EOD. The latter activities occurred in 2007 during the destruction of chemical munitions and explosive remnants of war in the Crimean Black Sea region. Patergyn was buried 10 January in Sevastopol at the Black Sea Fleet Cemetery.

Dr. Pramod Karan Sethi, Jaipur Foot Inventor

Dr. Pramod Karan Sethi, inventor of the Jaipur Foot, a low-cost prosthetic foot that has helped millions of landmine victims around the world, died in India of cardiac arrest on 6 January 2008. He was 80 years old. Sethi, an orthopedic surgeon, died in the city of Jaipur, the same city where, with the help of a local craftsman named Ramchandra Sharma, he developed the prosthetic foot after years of extensive research. Named after the city of its origin, the Jaipur Foot was designed to be affordable; it cost less than $30.

The Jaipur Foot was first used in Afghanistan for victims of Russian landmines during the Soviet invasion and remains extremely popular. The prosthesis has continued to gain worldwide acclaim and has been used in several other war-torn countries, including Iraq, Cambodia, Kenya, Bangladesh and Nicaragua. Because of the prohibitively high cost for prostheses, the Jaipur Foot enabled many to obtain an affordable device to allow them to reclaim their productive lives. In 1981, Sethi won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, often called Asia's version of the Nobel Prize, for his work on the prosthesis.

Sethi is survived by his wife, Sulochana Patni Sethi, as well as three daughters and a son.