My dad, Jack, passed away last month, and not a day goes by I don’t think about him and the role he played in helping me become the person I am today. He worked as a landscaper, but that only begins to describe the range of jobs he took on to provide for me and my five brothers and sisters. And despite all the early mornings and long hours, often it wasn’t enough. But he never became discouraged–that just meant it was time to get creative.
There was one chiropractor in our hometown, and although I’ll never know the specifics, he and my father had an arrangement where my dad would do all the landscaping outside his business, and in exchange the doctor would provide free chiropractic for our family. I can remember once, after a huge snowstorm, my father grabbing the shovel and walked two miles uphill, through the unpaved streets, to shovel this man’s parking lot. That’s how important he thought it was for us to receive chiropractic care.
Now that doesn’t mean my dad did all the work himself; sometimes he would have me and my brother, Jon, help him. My job always was to pick the cigarette butts out of the lava rocks in front of the office. I HATED this job. I couldn’t kneel down on them because they hurt my knees, and stooping over for too long hurt my back. I hated cigarette butts, I hated smokers, I hated the stupid lava rocks and whoever put them there in the first place. But my dad was not one to negotiate. I can still hear his voice to this day: “Make sure you don’t miss any of those butts.”
Thankfully, I never associated any of that dislike with chiropractic. I went on to study chiropractic at Palmer, graduating twenty-five years ago, in 1988. Today, Grice Chiropractic has two offices in Pittsburgh, staffed by four Palmer grads. I love my work with our patients, and I love my work with the State Board of Chiropractic, where I get to work with great chiropractic professionals and oversee the integrity of chiropractic practice across the Commonwealth.
I like to think none of this would have happened were it not for my dad. He valued chiropractic so much that he was willing to do work extra, without pay, to ensure his children received the best care. If there is any advice I can provide to those considering a career in chiropractic, it is the same that my dad shared with me so many years ago: the value of chiropractic is something to be held in the highest esteem.
Dr. Joseph T. Grice (Davenport ’88)