Useful personal connections sometimes pop up under strange circumstances. You just never know, when you meet someone, what might become of that relationship.
Dave Henning is a perfect example.
On December 14, 1999, Dave quit drinking and stopped taking drugs. His life was a mess, but at last he was doing something about it, getting treatment for his chemical dependencies, moving into a halfway house, and attempting to sell his home.
When the realtor came to talk about selling the house, she listened to Dave's story, then handed him a card. Her name was Mary, and she said her husband worked for something called Vocational Rehabilitation. The name on the card was Charlie Blood. "Give him a call," she said. "He might be able to help."
Many remember Charlie as one of VR's most colorful characters, an opinionated, sometimes controversial, and very effective counselor for a whole lot of years. He retired in 2005 after 37 years and, sadly, passed away in 2009.
When Dave Henning was living in that halfway house he took a look at the business card and said to himself, "What the hell," and dialed the number. It turned out to be a perfect match. Dave and Charlie hit it off right away. Even after Charlie retired, and Angela Davis took over the case, Dave and Charlie and Mary stayed in touch, right up to the day Charlie died.
"I'm a recovering addict and alcoholic," Dave says. "And there's no doubt that I'd crash and burn if I was still using. That's why I'd like to thank Charlie Blood and his wife Mary, and Angela who was very helpful along the way. I wouldn't be here today without them."
So where's here? For Dave, it's a chiropractic clinic in Andover, just a few minutes away from Coon Rapids, where he grew up. With Charlie's encouragement, and then Angela's, Dave found the desire and the stamina to enroll in North Hennepin Community College, where he completed most of the coursework for a bachelor's degree in human biology. He completed the degree at Northwestern Health Sciences University, and went on to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 2010.
The education represented a fairly dramatic turnaround for Dave. In his earlier life he had worked in a succession of mostly manual labor type jobs. He knew he wanted something more than that, and the idea of opening his own chiropractic practice took hold during his years of schooling.
Angela encouraged the dream, and introduced Dave to Ed Clayton, the small business development specialist for VRS. Ed helped with the development of a solid business plan and offered a lot of useful suggestions and advice, including some sound and successful advice about procuring financing for the practice.
Andover Family Chiropractic opened for business this past January and is already showing some very promising signs of growth. In the past month 53 patients came to visit. Dave shares the office with another practice, and currently works three days a week. Assuming things continue to go well, Dave will soon buy out the other practice, and operate full time practice. And then, he says, "Maybe I'll be able to pay myself one of these days."
Dave Henning received services at the Hennepin North Brooklyn Park office.