“I started as a laborer working with my hands. I transformed into a craftsman working with my hands and my mind. I ultimately evolved into an occupational therapist working with my hands, my mind, and my heart.” David Blanchard, Occupational Therapist
David Blanchard’s career path ended up taking a turn that he never expected. As a student in Western Michigan University’s (WMU) construction management program, David’s goal was to work with his father’s residential construction company. He enjoyed working with clients by building and renovating their dream homes so after taking some time to hone his building skills, he started a company of his own. While he really enjoyed the client side of the work, it wasn’t long before he realized that long hours in the field were followed by long hours preparing estimates and drumming up the next job.
David’s daughters love the play house he built for them
Around 2008, David decided he was ready for a change so he began exploring different options by shadowing and volunteering whenever he could. His ultimate goal was to find a career that would create security for his growing family and allow him to find satisfaction through helping others. This path led him to occupational therapy, which intrigued him because of the unique tools used, the broad areas of care provided, and level of personal connection that is required.
Going back to school when you have a family to support isn’t always the easiest decision. During his exploration and quest to become an occupational therapist, David paid bills by working as a production worker/truck driver at a feed mill, a truck driver for a local fertilizer plant, someone who provided consumer care for developmentally disabled children, and eventually a gym aid for Northern.
When David completed his degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services with a minor in holistic health he entered WMU’s occupational therapy program. During his time there he found many successful hand therapists that presented hand therapy in a way that intrigued him even further. David found great fulfillment in the ability to fix a person’s hand, as he feels the hand contributes to the most personal aspects of an individual’s life. To be able to help people once again perform the activities they love is a rewarding process for him.
Upon graduation we gladly hired David as an occupational therapist where he works with patients who have suffered injury to, or are feeling pain in their hands. He’s also been a great asset to our Work Services team because he can relate to people that are often in positions that he has worked.
While David admits that his path has not been simple, easy, or the most direct, he feels that it has allowed him the ability to relate to and empathize with his clients. David started as a laborer working with his hands. He transformed into a craftsman working with his hands and his mind. He ultimately evolved into an occupational therapist working with his hands, his mind, and his heart.