It was a long road, literally and figuratively, that led Doug Petty to his chosen profession and to Evergreen.
Born in Southern California and raised in the Pasadena Sierra Madre areas, he knew from early on he wanted to live elsewhere. “I remember at about age nine riding my bike with my eyes burning and telling my mom it was too smoggy!” he recalls.
Doug left California at 19 with a friend for a five-and a-half-month-long camping trip taking them through Canada and the eastern United States. On his return, a cousin in Utah convinced him a year in the construction trade before college would give him the experience and skills to easily find work in the summers. Since Doug had already fallen in love with southern Utah and the Zion Canyon area, it was an easy sell. And after a year, he enrolled in a state college, studying architecture and building courses. He obtained his contractor’s license and established his own construction company. It was around this time that events conspired to gradually change his focus and career goals.
“At 23, I was bucked from a horse and landed on a rock,” he explains. “I managed to drive myself to a friend’s place, but I wasn’t able to walk for five days. My friend sent me to his chiropractor, who made some adjustments to my spine that removed the intense pain I’d been feeling. I felt so much better, and it was then that my interest in the chiropractic field began.”
Doug’s construction business was located in Brian Head, Utah, a ski resort town at high elevation, and “after many years, I’d gotten tired of living at ten thousand feet. I also realized that my interests had been shifting. When I told my partner that I was ready to make a change, he just smiled and told me he’d known it was coming.”
Ironically, another severe injury reconfirmed Doug’s career decision when a heavy trap door fell on him. “I was a mess, and in a lot of pain,” he recalls. Someone suggested he see a local healer, "a remarkable woman named Betty Mount."
“I showed up at her door without an appointment, with a swollen lip out to here, and self-applied butterfly stitches to a big cut over my eye,” he said. “Betty simply greeted me with, ‘Well, it’s about time you got here,’ And she wasn’t referring to my injuries! She somehow knew I was destined to join her; and that day, I became her apprentice. I continued in construction for another two years, but I went back to school to become a chiropractor.”
In 1985, Doug went to chiropractic school in the Bay Area where he met his wife-to-be, Marjie, who was then studying to be a massage therapist. Two and a half years later they eloped, marrying in a simple ceremony at Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah with his dog as his best man. Afterward, they embarked on a month-long honeymoon with a plan to tour a seven-state area while looking for a new place to settle.
“We had a ‘wish-list’ of the things we wanted, wherever we relocated. We wanted to live in a beautiful place, the kind of spot we would also choose for a vacation, a small town where we would be able to live and work without commuting to a city, and a community that would welcome and support us and our work. We also wanted a view of water, and good restaurants (including Thai and Vietnamese) and to be within an hour’s drive of an international airport. And we wanted a place with lots of days of sunshine!”
Evergreen turned out to be that place.
Doug recalls that they left Oakland on October 15, 1989, two days before the October 17 Loma Prieta earthquake that struck the Bay Area, causing widespread death and more than five billion dollars in destruction. “It definitely felt like we had left at the right time!”
After working for another chiropractor for a year, Doug and Marjie opened their own chiropractic business at The Lakepoint Center, where Marjie managed the office, trained new staff and did massage therapy. This enabled them to fulfill another one of the items on their wish list: they could look directly out from their office to Evergreen Lake!
Unfortunately, Doug wasn’t yet through with experiencing some traumatic injuries. While remodeling their home and installing a fence with a post digger, he severely injured his wrists, elbows and shoulders, which sent him in search of additional medical help.
“I’d heard about some seminars being conducted by Dr. Kevin Heron from Boise, Idaho…. He helped me recover completely from this latest round of injuries and I was so impressed with his approach to treating patients that I wound up taking 12 classes with him, and I’ve integrated what I’ve learned from him into my own practice. I’ve incorporated applied kinesiology and extremity adjusting techniques as ways of treating things like chronic headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and foot injuries.”
In 2009 – after 18 years at Lakepoint Center – they moved Lakepoint Chiropractic to their home on Upper Bear Creek where Doug continues to provide his full range of chiropractic care. When they moved, they agreed it was time for Marjie to devote herself to working full-time as an artist and instructor in a studio in their home. “There’s even a small pond on the other side of the road from our house, so we’ve never lost our view of water,” he declares.
A lot of other interests fill Doug’s spare time. He skis, fly fishes, camps and hikes; and he and Marjie regularly enjoy river trips. He’s a musician, as well, playing guitar and jamming with a group of friends.
“There’s little stress in my life. My staff and my patients feel like family to me. I love what I do!”
Sounds like he’s made a lot of good decisions.