An unlikely friendship: Judge and boy bond over shared experience

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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Recently, Perry County District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens traveled to Orlando, Florida for a fitting of her prosthetic foot, but she was not alone.

Photo credit: Frankie Stallard

Kaleb Pennington, 2, was also there.

"I was video tapping Kaleb's first steps ... and I teared up," Stephens said. "I was sniffing and carrying on. I had to leave. I had to walk away because it was such a joyful occasion!"

Stephens lost part of her leg in a car crash a few years ago. Pennington was born without legs.

"We had to get genetic testing done and there was nothing identified as a problem," Kaleb's mom, Heather Pennington said. "He was just born without legs below the knee!"

The pair visits Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA) in Orlando to be fitted for their prosthetic legs. We are told the fact they have each other makes the process a lot easier.

"I think they are good for each other because I guess they can relate on a level that we can't relate on," Heather Pennington said.

The story doesn't stop there: Kaleb and the judge were not the only people with Kentucky ties visiting POA in Orlando. Katie Eddington, 8, was there. Her parents are from Hazard. They also saw Louisville native and Boston bombing survivor, Rebekah Gregory.

"When you know someone who is going through the same situation you are: You are learning to walk, you are dealing with the loss of a limb ... you just encourage each other," Stephens said.

Kaleb's family has help paying for his prosthetic legs through the 50 Legs Organization and the Jordan Thomas Foundation.

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