We are back with another member spotlight! This is a guy who is the Father of 3 children, a loving husband , Manager at a VFW, Owner of Mission Cleaning, works out 3 times a day, and somehow manages to find the time to hold down a job with an organization called Veterans Leadership Program. Dan Blevins spends his time reaching out to homeless veterans to help find them housing, gainful employment, and even finds them funding for gym memberships. We are very happy to be a part of his selfless work and to spend time with some of these amazing people. We asked Dan a few questions so we can all get to know him a little better.
1. Hey there! Where are you from?
- I was born in raised in Pittsburgh. The mean streets of Dormont to be exact.
2. What do you do for a living?
- I am the development manger for Veterans Leadership Program; the biggest veterans nonprofit in PA. I am also the manager of the Dormont VFW and I own my own commercial cleaning company. I don't want to work this much, but three kids aint cheap!
3. How long have you been doing CrossFit?
- I have been dabbling in crossfit since I got out of the military in 2012. I was training for the Tough Mudder and I stumbled across a video of Jim Crowel running in the woods. I decided to drop into IF and try it out, I was hooked instantly.
4. Tell us about your athletic history…
- Outside of the standard child hood sports, any real athletic history began in my teenage years. I had, what some would refer to, as a shitty childhood. I didn't drink or do drugs, so I needed some escape from all of the anger. I decided to start running and it became a great release. Of course I had a lot of hatred, so the distances grew quickly and I was running 50+ miles a week. Realizing I still had more to get out, I enrolled in kickboxing and martial arts. I would spend about 12 hours weekly training to fight and still racking up the 50+ miles. This is when I realized my only real athletic talent was extreme endurance and I would excel in the military.
5. What brought you to CrossFit St. Clair?
- Originally it was the implosion of Mayview. What brought me back was a phenomenal community where everyone challenged themselves and others to be better. The top athletes weren't putting others down, so they could stay on top. Instead I saw a group of people that wanted to rise together. A training environment like that is hard to find. Also, all your equipment didn't hurt either.
6. What’s your favorite way to sweat?
- It used to be running, but after multiple injuries/surgeries and tons of weight gain,running is out and crossfit is in.
7. Favorite food?
- Anything Mexican.
8. Favorite movie?
- We Were Soldiers - I know it seems cliche for a veteran who served in the Cavalry to say that, but it's a constant reminder of how great men can be when they least expect it. It's also a constant reminder of the brutalities of war and to be the best you can everyday, because so many young men and women have died for this country.
9. Favorite book?
- This is a hard one to answer. I earned my degree in history and have read a lot of powerful books about the greatest times in history and the darkest moments of mankind. If i had to pick one, it would be The Kite Runner. I spent 12 months in the mountains of Afghanistan, so I can relate to the horrors of the culture in that book. It also highlights how prosperous societies can be completely ruined by war never recover.
10. Favorite music to work out to?
- 90's hip hop. No idea why, but it works.
11. When you aren’t working or working out, where can we find you?
- Getting the crap kicked out of me by my three kids.
12. How has CrossFit changed you?
- Besides the physical changes and a more positive outlook on life, I have met a lot of great people in crossfit and developed lasting friendships.
13. What do you love most about CrossFit St. Clair?
- The training space, the people, Josh (obviously), and the fact that you are one of the last gyms to sell Kill Cliffs (I have a serious addiction).
14. What 3 words would people use to describe you?
- I'm not sure, but whatever they are, I'm sure they aren't good.
15. Any mantra, favorite quote, or words to live by?
- Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior.