Doug Ellis is one of those
few people who have experienced the
sudden. Doug was born in Tulia 50 years
ago and has lived in Dumas since 1965.
One trip to Lubbock with his Dad to see
a Texas Tech football game convinced him
at a young age that Texas Tech would be
his college of choice. He also knew
that he would major in finance and
become a banker. Therefore, upon
graduating from high school, Doug set
out for Lubbock to follow his chosen
path. In 1974, now in his junior year
at Texas Tech, Doug was home for the
holiday and celebrating New Year’s Eve
with is friends. While cruising the
town of Silverton in a 9169 Camero, the
driver suddenly lost control of the car
and the life of Doug Ellis suddenly took
a new direction. The driver was killed
and Doug was taken to Tulia and was
admitted to the same hospital in which
he was born.
The prognosis for Doug was
not good. He did not have feeling in
his legs; thus was paralyzed from the
waist down. He spent three months at
Bivins Rehabiltation Center. Along with
daily physical therapy at Bivins, Doug
also experienced a collapsed lung and a
blood clot in his lung.
Upon release from Bivins
Rehab in April 1975, Doug spent his
summer months with his parents in Dumas
working for his Dad in their Ag Chem
business. He continued to pursue his
goal of a degree in finance by taking
correspondence courses from Texas Tech.
In the fall of 1975, this unique, goal
oriented young man was back on the Texas
Tech campus entertaining his friends by
performing wheelies in his new mode of
transportation, his manual wheelchair.
Doug obtained a BBA in finance and for a while, went to work for the First State Bank of
Dumas. He also worked for his Dad’s Ag
Chem business. Determined to venture
into all opportunities offered, Doug
worked for the next ten years in the
retail business of men’s clothing and
sporting goods. He also sold mutual
funds for such reputable companies as
Equitable, United, and State Farm, as
well as working as an independent
insurance agent over a ten year period.
During this time, Doug also met his
lovely wife, and is the proud
step-father to three children and a
proud grandfather of six.
young man, although wheelchair bound,
had taken this sudden physical change
and decided to move forward pursuing his
Dumas is the home of
Venable Construction, a pipeline
construction company that is the pioneer
of compressor stations. Using his
finance degree and his multi-faceted
experience, Doug became the office
manager of Venable Construction.
Later in life, Doug began
to experience pain in his shoulders.
Denying there could be a major problem,
he continued pursuing his career and
also joined other skiers at Winter Park
for some handicap skiing.
Thirty years of lifting
himself in and out of his manual
wheelchair and operating it had begun to
take a toll on Doug’s shoulders. Bones
and tears to the rotator cuff were not
helped by steroids. When surgery was
performed, the doctors could only
cleanup the tears, but were unable to
completely repair the damage. Doug
could no longer transfer himself and
lift his wheelchair into his
automobile. He decided to sell it and
use the money to buy a van. However,
vans were out of his reach financially.
There was also the problem of converting
a van and getting a lift for his
While in the process of
obtaining help from the Division of
Rehabilitation Services (formerly Texas
Rehabilitation Commission), Second
Chance Foundation was recommended. This
Foundation, as it is so aptly named
truly offers a “second chance.” The
foundation was able to partner with Doug
and purchase a special van. The
Division of Rehabilitation Services took
care of converting the van for
wheelchair access. Now, with his remote
control, Doug lowers the ramp of his van
and transports himself in his electric
wheelchair into the driver’s position.
Second Chance has allowed a
dynamic, contributing individual to
continue to live a life of joy and
hope. Thank you, Doug Ellis, for being
an inspiration to all who meet you.
Also, thanks to Second Chance, Doug is
back to work full-time and is again
enjoying his independence.