Local businessman comes back stronger than before
“When I woke, my nurse said we were worried about you; you’re in Room 1,” Glenn Jordan said of his first recollection after a hospital stay. “I was just out of a coma, but I’m doing the math, and 1 is a pretty low room number” — the designation in hospital parlance, it turns out, that means the occupant is No. 1 on death’s doorstep.
Jordan was severely burned in a massive explosion at a strip mall in West Chandler on Aug. 26, 2021. He was working at his business, All American Eyeglass Repair, when a natural gas leak at Platinum Printing caused a horrific explosion. The print shop is adjacent to Jordan’s office, and both were engulfed in flames and debris. He spent 40 days in the hospital, followed by months of rehab. One of the first things Jordan asked when he came out of his coma was if he’d walk again, he said.
“When the answer was yes, the cross-fit athlete’s mindset kicked into gear. ‘Alright, what do I need to do?’ was the next question. ‘Let’s get after it,’ was his decision.” And from there, he was committed to recover and never missed an appointment.
Now, at 61, Jordan is doing something he couldn’t do before the accident – completing 2,000 pull-ups in 12 hours. And he’s doing it for charity. Jordan is pushing his limits for s fundraiser. Raise Your Bar, for the Arizona Burn Foundation and the Hub, the two organizations that are dearest to him. He credits both as part of his incredible recovery, Jordan said. But first, of course, was his immediate family and amazing wife. “Your spouse becomes a part-time nurse because they have to pick up all the slack.” Then, he said, you have to take your support to the next level. Having different layers of support is crucial.
Jordan gives credit to his doctors, rehab specialists and cross-fit friends at The Hub Fitness in Ahwatukee. This was his community, he said. They knew how to encourage him, just like they’ve done for others. And now Jordan is paying it forward with the fundraiser. Even in the midst of his recovery, Jordan was determined to get back to the gym. His therapists created a plan for him, starting with strengthening his grip on a rowing machine.
“I’m going to do it in small steps over and over,” Jordan said of his built-in gym training mindset. He knew that even doing 10 reps twice a day, with the goal of increasing to 11, then 12, and so on, would help. His attitude wasn’t just for the gym but all his rehab. Doing whatever it took to improve in small steps every day and knowing how to approach challenging tasks helped him conquer the physical limitations of his experience. Jordan transformed his daily routine, increasing his pull-up count from one hour to an astounding 8 hours, totaling 1,600 pull-ups.
Standing in the gym, Jordan shows me his scarred hands and has me feel the skin of his elbows. His faintly mottled skin is smooth to the touch. Jordan credits his fantastic occupational therapy with his ability to do what he’s able to. A natural motivator, he reminded me that everything he’s done to get to where he is today applies to anyone wanting to recover from an injury or knee surgery, like mine. “It doesn’t have to be as severe as mine,” he said. It boils down to two words––effort and discipline. Watching him walk up to the rack and look at the bar a few feet above his head, his arms swinging gracefully.
Jordan does a light hop and grabs the bar. He hangs for a few seconds, then pulls himself up until his chin pops over it. It’s hard to believe that just over two years ago, this 61-year-old athlete was struggling to live, let alone be able do a pull-up. He lands lightly on the ground. Yes, he said, his smooth radio voice is permanently gone, one of the most challenging things about his recovery. But it was finding success in the little things, like putting his socks on by himself as markers of his improvement. Jordan’s story is one of inspiration and hope, and he takes looking for the positive to a new level. His flip-the-script kind of thinking was a way to embrace his adversity.
“It could’ve been a lot worse–– my feet weren’t damaged, and at least I can walk,” he said. “Look at what didn’t happen to you instead of what did.”