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He’s the top dad on ‘wheels’

Rockdale native Lantz wins Reeve Foundation voting


Eric Lantz, daughter Alyssa, roll out for another biking excursion. 
Photo courtesy Reeve Foundation Eric Lantz, daughter Alyssa, roll out for another biking excursion. Photo courtesy Reeve Foundation Rockdale native Eric Lantz loves riding bicycles with his four-year-old daughter, Alyssa.

Don’t most dads feel that way? Sure, but Eric isn’t most dads. The 40-year-old Houston resident has been paralyzed from the waist down for 22 years.

Last week he was named “Best Dad on Wheels” for 2011 by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

(Christopher Reeve was the star of Superman movies before he was paralyzed in a fall from a horse.)

Lantz, the son of Glade and Lois Lantz of Rockdale, was nominated for the award by his wife, Brenda, and his co-workers at TIRR Memorial Hermann Healthcare System where he is an occupational therapist.

ACCIDENT—More than 3,000 people voted on the Reeve Foundation’s website before Lantz was declared the winner.


The ‘Best Dad on Wheels’ family, Brenda, Alyssa and Eric Lantz. The ‘Best Dad on Wheels’ family, Brenda, Alyssa and Eric Lantz. “I learned my daughter is real good about keeping a secret,” Lantz said. “She knew about this way before I did.”

Lantz graduated from Rockdale High School in June, 1989. Two months later his car left FM 908 north of Rockdale and smashed into an embankment.

He sustained a serious spinal chord injury.

Lantz was planning to enter Texas A&M University. And that’s what he did.

“By January, he was enrolled at A&M,” Lois Lantz told The Reporter. He graduated and went on to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

‘CREATIVE’—He’s worked for TIRR Memorial for 10 years.

“Before that he went all over Texas demonstrating wheelchairs,” Lois Lantz said. “He was in an MS Society bicycle race from Houston to Austin.”

“And he is director of an ‘extreme’ camp near Brenham which encourages people in wheelchairs,” she said.

Lantz has met with Dustin Strelsky of Rockdale, who is the 2011 Texas Miracle Network state champ.

“There are things I have to be more creative about,” Eric Lantz said, noting the challenges of teaching his daughter how to play soccer and swim.

“But that’s part of being an occupational therapist, breaking down and teaching her how to do things a different way,” he said. “It’s kind of what I do every day at work. I just break down activities, figuring out how to get the job done.”

Lantz says he gets high praise from his daughter in addition to this award.

“She says she thinks it’s great I’m in a wheelchair because I always have a lap wherever we go,” he said.


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2011-06-23 digital edition



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