PINELLAS PARK — Community activist Marshall Cook is doing well after surgery to remove his leg.
"We've gotten shorter," Cook said Wednesday, a day after the operation.
Cook, 62, suffers from multiple health issues. One leg was amputated several years ago after he stepped on a rusty nail that pierced the tennis shoes he was wearing. Cook spent weeks in the hospital after he developed osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone or bone marrow. Cook said the latest operation was a residual effect of that infection.
Cook said he was doing well and that the last time he had a leg amputated, he was home in two days. This time, however, doctors have kept him longer. Cook said he plans to leave the Bay Pines VA Medical Center on Monday in time for Christmas.
Cook, who is easily recognized by his Santa-style beard, is a familiar sight in Pinellas Park as he travels around the city in his wheelchair. He has become known for advocating handicapped access and has complained numerous times about the obstacles created by cars parked on sidewalks.
Cook is also a regular at City Council meetings and often comments about votes and other local issues. He has even used the public comment portion of the meetings to advocate on behalf of a neighbor's sick child.
He serves on the city's Equestrian Board and has twice run unsuccessfully for City Council.
He also serves the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority as a citizen representative and has been on the Pinellas County Democratic Party Executive Committee.
He is a past member of Community Spirit in the Park and the city's holiday parade committee.