DOUG ELLIS

              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.

This young man, although wheelchair bound, had taken this sudden physical change and decided to move forward pursuing his goals.

             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 wheelchair.

             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.

 

Diann.Brown@bsahs.org