Double-Amputee Back at Work
L-R: Lynn Jaqua, Tyrone Douglas and Len LaLuna.
Tyrone Douglas, an able-bodied man with prosthetics below each knee, is finally back at work, and the union representing West Haven public service workers is standing right behind him to lead the cheers.
“I just want to get back to work. That’s all I ever wanted,” Douglas said.
Douglas, a city custodian and member of AFSCME Local 681, eagerly resumed his duties March 29 at 3:00 p.m. more than a year after having his left leg amputated below the knee. Although given a clean bill of health by his doctors, the city refused to allow Douglas to return to his job, forcing Local 681’s parent union, Council 4, to file a municipal prohibited practice complaint in January.
On March 23, the city agreed to put Douglas back on the job.
“Tyrone is a wonderful example of dedication and persistence,” said Local 681 President Lynn Jaqua. “He believes in hard work and he values public service.”
Douglas, 58, is diabetic and vulnerable to a disease known as Charcot that weakens the bones. He had his right leg amputated below the knee in 1997. Despite having to undergo the same surgery on his left leg last year, he was determined to return to city employment.
“I could have taken a Social Security disability retirement, sat home and collected a check,” Douglas said. “But that’s not who I am. I want to be a productive, tax-paying member of society. I never wanted to stay home and vegetate.”
Douglas believes he never would have gotten his job without the efforts of Local 681 and Council 4. “My union stood by me and fought for my rights. I am grateful to Lynn (Jaqua) and (Council 4) Staff Representative Len LaLuna for representing me every step of the way.”