Thankful to Be an American
For Alan Blum, aka Dr. Grab Bar, Memorial Day is an annual reminder that he’s thankful to be an American and for the success he’s achieved.
The Navy veteran, who served in Korea and had duty all over the world, says he joined the military “because I was repaying my debt to the United States. It all ties into me being very glad to be a citizen of this country and the great things we get to enjoy.”
Military duty also taught him many life lessons.
“People get those life lessons in different ways,” he says, “but for me, it was just being able to travel around the world, seeing different cultures and experiencing different customs. It has always stuck with me.”
After his service, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and, like several of his Navy buddies, he went to beauty school in Washington, D.C., to become a hair stylist. He also helped raise four kids.
Years later, he made another big career leap: into the construction business.
“My strength was in selling and the business side of things,” he says. “I partnered with a guy who didn’t know how to sell or how to do business. I was in the right place at the right time, and I did that for 30 years.”
Florida then beckoned him, and he answered, moving to the Sarasota-Venice area.
“I was friends with some physical therapists in town,” Blum says, “and one of the things they said their clients needed the most were grab bars in their homes.”
Thus Dr. Grab Bar was born.
“I quickly learned that one out of three people over the age of 65 fall every year,” Blum says. “I knew I wanted to help people. I’m very empathetic. I go at the safety part really strong – it’s all about your safety.
“I don’t approach it like my competitors, who don’t have the background that I have. My thing is, I want to help you so you can stay in your home a lot longer so you get to enjoy your independence. If you fall and hurt yourself, you could end up in a hospital, a nursing home or a rehab facility.”
Does Dr. Grab Bar have grab bars in his own home? Why, of course, he does.
“I’ve got them all over the place. You know why? Because I want to keep on working. I cannot retire, I don’t want to. As long as I can walk and talk, I’m going to sell grab bars for a very long time.”