Never too late to make a difference - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Never too late to make a difference


When Dan Grinstead joined the Iowa National Guard he was old enough to be a grandfather. Despite his age he knew he could make a difference in the lives of his fellow soldiers.

NBC Nightly News took notice, and featured him in their "Making a Difference" segment in August 2010.

Captain Grinstead, a social worker at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics joined the Iowa National Guard at the age of 58 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 at the age of 60.

But with his background in social work and psychiatry he knew he could make an impact.

"At that time and still today I felt it was the best way to go in order to help soldiers to be willing to put on a uniform, take the same risks and the same responsibilities as them," said Dan.

This week, Grinstead returned to his alma mater, Wartburg College to talk with social work students and tell them a little bit about his experience and why there is a growing need to help military families.

"The vast majority of us who come back from the deployment are going to be okay, we're going to be well, but there's going to be a small number of people that will need some help and so if I can talk to them about any experience and what I can compare that to and what other soldiers experiences were like when we were deployed hopefully we'll do some good here on forward."

Grinstead admits the field of social work is far from glamorous, but the rewards are greater than most know.

"Salary isn't as important as the bigger picture of working with people and having a positive impact on their lives."

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