If there is one thing Glenn Smith knows, it is the life-changing value of fitness.
As the Fitness and Recreation Director at Sun City Palm Desert for nearly 18 years, Glenn’s relationship with fitness has deep roots. Glenn proactively coaches community members on their paths, but what many would be surprised to know is his journey and passion for fitness developed from a long series of hardships, heart-wrenching tribulations and humble beginnings.
As a child and adolescent, Glenn was an outcast who was constantly bullied for his perceived lanky stature, low-income status and his stuttering. Tired of the relentless bullying, something had to change. Glenn said, “I knew I had to stand up for myself, because no one was going to do it for me.” Since he could not afford proper workout equipment, Glenn started off by doing what was free: push-ups and handstands against the wall. He challenged his limits and achieved his goal of 100 push-ups a day – but he was just getting started!
Over time, his growing strength was becoming noticeable, and his High School best friend, Mark King, joined him in his pursuits. Glenn built his own barbells from empty coffee cans, a stray broken broom stick and concrete. He poured concrete into one can, stuck the stick in, let it dry, and repeated for the other side. Glenn’s confidence and stature built up through his ongoing dedication, enabling him to stand up against the bullying.
Glenn’s 18th birthday was filled with a lot of promise, potential and hopes for new beginnings, but was quickly shattered and eclipsed with fear as he opened a draft letter summoning him to Vietnam. Glenn’s father served in the Army during World War II. He took Glenn aside and spoke about the haunting realities and hardships caused by the war, urging him to sign up in one of the programs. Following his dad’s inspiring advice, Glenn joined the Naval Air, Electronics Program, and became highly specialized through education and training joining the VP48 squadron. During his military time Glenn continued to work-out at every base he was assigned to.
Adapting to life after his time in the war was a surreal experience. Glenn’s heart was heavy from his war experiences, he had very little money in his pocket and no clear direction for his life. Although finding employment was sometimes challenging, Glenn found joy in furthering his education, achieving a Master’s Degree. He also became a Licensed Chaplin working thru his church in the prison system trying to help others. Fitness remained an important part of his life and included winning all natural bodybuilding competitions!
Glenn began working as the Security Director at Sun City Palm Desert in 2003. There, he overheard they were searching for a Fitness and Recreation Director. Glenn knew right away it was the perfect opportunity. That night he spoke to his loving and supportive wife of 32 years, Marie, who encouraged him to apply. He applied the very next day, and three days later he had the job. Since then, Glenn has been proud to help Palm Desert area residents find their own personal strength. They love his optimism, his expertise, and his compassion. Glenn still continues to work-out 5 days a week. “I have never taken any drugs and I build muscle with good nutrition and hard work.” Glenn says.
“Everyone who steps into our facilities feels like my extended family,” Glenn says. He is far more than just the Fitness Director. He is also a certified personal trainer, CPR and AED trainer, certified physical therapy aide, and hosts fitness and nutrition lectures. He still continues his ministry by preaching at a local Truck stop on Sunday. “I love helping people and I will never stop helping people. I do not just love my job, I love the effects of my job.” When people are determined, they will be amazed at the results; “I have seen people completely transform the quality of their lives. If you are willing, I am willing!”
Get involved with the Fitness Activities and Recreation nearby at the Sun City Palm Desert
38180 Del Webb Blvd
Palm Desert California 92211