Today is Foot Levelers’ CEO’s birthday–Happy Birthday Kent!–which got us reminiscing about Foot Levelers’ humble beginning, all the way back in 1952. The company, after all, was started by Kent’s father, the renowned Chiropractor Dr. Monte H. Greenawalt, who at that time was not all that well-known–he was fresh out of Chiropractic college, just starting his practice from the basement of a bank in Dubuque, Iowa.
Foot Levelers is literally in Kent’s blood, so sharing the company, and family, story seemed a fitting way to honor him today. It’s a pretty remarkable story, and we hope you enjoy it.
It was 1942, and World War II was raging. A young man from Iowa, Monte H. Greenawalt, wanted to help, so he signed up for the Army.
But Monte’s preparations didn’t go as planned. As part of his pre-service requirements, he required vaccinations. Tragedy struck. A tainted batch killed many young men, and Monte was left paralyzed, forced to lie in an iron lung for six months.
Doctor after doctor told his devastated family that Monte would live the rest of his life as a paraplegic. His mother wouldn’t hear it. She eventually sought out a local Chiropractor, who was able to restore her son’s mobility.
Our founder, Dr. Monte H. Greenawalt, with his son Kent, who’s our Chairman and CEO today (he’s bigger now)
“They carried him in and he walked out,” Monte’s mother would later recall.
Monte’s path was now clear. Though he had planned to study medicine after his enlistment, his personal experience with the power of Chiropractic changed all that. In 1948, a newly minted Dr. Monte graduated from Lincoln Chiropractic College.
As a young Doctor practicing in Dubuque, Dr. Monte began to notice a pattern: patients with foot problems, especially, were returning to him with the same back, joint, knee and hip problems they started with—his Chiropractic adjustments just weren’t holding. Dr. Monte referred these patients to a podiatrist, but their problems persisted. In fact, many got worse. If a foot device could make his patients’ problems worse, he wondered, could it also potentially make these problems better?
Dr. Monte began to experiment with orthotics, and through trial and error, developed a formula based on 16 unique measurements of the foot. His patients began to feel better, results improved; his adjustments held longer. The referrals started flowing in, and eventually Dr. Monte’s little garage workshop couldn’t handle the demand. Foot Levelers moved to an old dairy; years later, the company relocated across the country to Roanoke, Virginia–making it easier to reach patients with its products quicker–and that’s where it remains, with Monte’s son (our birthday boy) at the helm. Sadly, Dr. Monte passed away in 2007.
Today Foot Levelers is the #1 provider of custom-made orthotics for Chiropractors all over the world. We’ve helped millions of patients overcome pain and improve performance. Kent has overseen incredible growth and innovation for the family company as President and later Chairman and CEO– like his dad, he’s a tireless advocate of Chiropractic, a multi-patent-holding inventor, and a committed philanthropist.
If you have pain, we want to help you–it’s what Foot Levelers has been about from day one. You can find a Chiropractor who offers our products here, and read more about how orthotics can help your symptoms here, here and here.