“The ORC is there to serve the community,” DeLaTorre said. “If we can show appreciation to anyone whether it be the youths, male or female athletics or even things that aren’t necessarily sports, it is very important and shows people it is worth participating.”
DeLaTorre previously served 21 years in Ottawa law enforcement, 15 as lieutenant of the detective division, before being appointed to the ORC by the city commission. During his time on the board, the ORC created and completed several large projects including the construction of the Ottawa Recreation Center/Goppert Building, 705 W. 15th St.
“On my main agenda when I first interviewed [to be on the ORC commission] was that this city will have a new community center,” DeLaTorre said. “The idea had been thrown around for a couple of years when I first joined the commission.”
DeLaTorre said former ORC director Jane Morton was key in asking the Ottawa school board for the mill levy raise that aided in funding the community center.
“That was eight or 10 years ago and we had to save for it,” DeLaTorre said. “All extra money was earmarked for the new community center. My main concern was, if we are going to build a community center in Ottawa, it needs to be for the community.”
The building opened in September 2011. Since then, DeLaTorre said he loves seeing people use the facility.
“What makes me happy is when I go into the building and see people having fun,” DeLaTorre said. “[The facility] belongs to the taxpayers. It is a free, open gym with a second floor.”
“We put in several thousand dollars to upgrade Orlis Cox,” DeLaTorre said. “I originally got the idea for the new backstops at Orlis Cox from going to a softball game at [Kansas University].”
A lot of credit for the ORC’s success in its various projects goes to the past and present staffs, DeLaTorre said.
“I give a lot of credit to the past staff,” he said. “The current staff has done outstanding work in the past year. The ORC system in this community is the best system anywhere.”
Though he can no longer serve on the commission at the ORC, DeLaTorre said he will make sure to stay involved with the ORC and the community.
“I’ve done it all,” he said. “Even though I’m not in the capacity to make decisions for [the commission], I will always be around to help. I had a good 13 years and really enjoyed them.”