experience

Understanding Doug Latz

Both misunderstood and widely recognized in Athens County, 48-year-old Doug Latz doesn't let his developmental disability keep him from the roads and bike paths of his world.

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Doug Latz:

Bicycles give me a lot of freedom. They give me give me a lot of freedom and will power. I ride bikes, I fix bikes, because it’s my hobby.

Pam Darbey:

Doug’s a big collector of bicycles and radios. His father got him his first bicycle. Of course with Doug, he’d ride the tars off of bikes and stuff so his dad eventually taught him how to work on bikes.

Doug Latz:

I saved up one hundred grand for the three-wheeler and it’s bright yellow. I have my license plate with my full name. I usually leave here in the morning and then get on the bike. The Skull saves cans for me and there’s the UPS, the UPS saves cans for me too. When I am riding my bike, out in the community collecting cans, some strangers aren’t very polite. Sometimes they threaten the life out of me and I’m not going to allow it.

Pam Darbey:

Doug just wants everyone to like him and he can be a very gentle person. He thinks that everyone is his best friend, and they use that to their advantage.

Doug Latz:

Haven’t had this thing out for a while, that eight-speed with the pump on it.

Pam Darbey:

I don’t know what Doug would do actually if he couldn’t ride a bike or get out. I think it would make Doug very, very nervous. He’d be more upset and this way he gets out and his mind is off of the troubles.

Paul Clever:

He had a period when he was institutionalized and didn’t have the right to any stuff, per say. I think that’s why loves to collect radios or bikes and stuff like that. It’s part of his own self-determination.

Pam Darbey:

Doug didn’t get to say goodbye so Doug took it very hard. I was getting off shift one evening and he wanted to talk to me. So I went out back with him. Now, you’ve got to understand, Doug stands 6’ 5”. He sad down like a little child, Indian style and he wanted to know if it was alright to talk to his Dad when he sat on his bed at night. And he said, “Because I miss me Dad.” He looked up towards the sky, it was dark out, and there was a full moon and a star. He said, “See that star, Pam? That’s where my Dad lives now.”

Doug Latz:

My dad taught me all about bikes. He was a good professor at O.U. He was an O.U. professor and his eyes wasn’t feeling so good at all. His eyes was going up inside his head. He died because of it.

Pam Darbey:

I guess the love of horses must come from his father because all the time I’ve worked with Doug, it’s always been about horses.

Doug Latz:

Yes, Connor. I know buddy, I know Connor, I know. Connor is my pet mule and I take good care of him. I take care of Connor and Brutus and Patty-Cakes and Missy.

Paul Clever:

He’s so consistent and so regular. There’s so much a part of his routine, its kind of who he is.

Doug Latz:

Connor, aw. Good boy Connor, good boy.

Pam Darbey:

Doug just has a gentleness about him and the kindness that animals trust. They know he’s not going to hurt them.

Doug Latz:

If Katie the horse catches anyone hurting me, Katie the horse will be pretty upset. The horse has feelings, I have feelings too.

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Understanding Doug Latz