Guy at US Air Force Academy
Sandy at Florida State University
Locked up with God: My Best Thirteen Speeches, by Capt. Guy D Gruters, Vietnam POW
Guy and Sandy Gruters are parents of eight children, two before six years of combat in Vietnam and six after. Guy is an F-100 Fighter Pilot, small business owner/CEO and Corporate Executive VP who speaks positively and enthusiastically on lessons learned during more than five years spent as a P.O.W. in a North Vietnamese Communist Prison Camp, on more than four hundred combat missions flown in South and North Vietnam before capture and time in the POW camp, and on business and family experiences since. He was awarded more than 30 combat medals, including two silver stars, two distinguished flying crosses, two bronze stars for heroism, and two purple hearts. His fighter aircraft was shot down twice over North Vietnam. He was rescued by Jolly Greens after the first and captured after the second. The suffering in prison camp was intense 24/7 year after year without any end in sight. Time crawled. Six out of seven men in Guy's situation were tortured to death or killed in one way or another by the Russians and North Vietnamese during those years. He is an engaging, warm, motivational, positive, inspirational keynote, leadership, youth or conference speaker. Guy describes the various aspects of those combat and prison camp experiences, ranging from the specific conditions of imprisonment to individual tales of heroic courage and leadership, such as that of Capt. Lance P. Sijan. Capt. Sijan was a Medal of Honor winner who was tortured to death while with Guy in prison camp. Upon return to the United States, Guy was a successful CEO of a small computer business, then Director and VP-MIS for billion dollar corporations, and speaks convincingly of leadership, teamwork, and personal values necessary for success. Guy and his wife, Sandy, who waited faithfully for six years until his return, raised seven children during these years and have since adopted an eighth. This unique combination of experiences allows for a tailored approach for your organization's theme or requirements. It has also been an excellent audience draw for events featuring Guy as one of the speakers. As seen in the examples below, audience evaluations have been consistently superior.
Centrally located in Ohio, Guy is a motivational speaker available to talk throughout the United States and overseas. Simply send a message with your name, Email address and/or phone with the audience type (i.e., Catholic, Christian, Business, Corporate, Military, Family, Youth, Academic, etc.).
His extremely effective presentations relate the combat and/or prison camp experiences that apply to and make sense for the audience's interests and the event's theme. This tailoring is done by working with the event coordinator. Please see the "Speaker" web page of this website for a list of representative topics and speeches that can be used virtually "as is" or combined into a new presentation.
Excerpt: About the MISTY FACs, lead in to first shootdown;
Excerpt: Capt. Lance Sijan, the beginning;
For religious audiences, for Men's Conferences, Youth Conferences or Men's Leadership Conferences, for Christian Men's Conferences, for Catholic Men's Conferences, Guy is one of the Catholic Motivational Speakers for Catholic audiences or Christian Speakers for Christian audiences who gives witness of his conversion and the power of persistent, persevering prayer that gave the grace to overcome anger and hatred. This meant to forgive, pray for and love his torturers, which resulted in deep peace and joy during the last years in prison camp, despite apparently hopeless conditions tempting strongly to despair and suicide. He can also address the saving power of suffering, the necessity to embrace necessary suffering without complaint or "poor me" attitude, hope in hopeless circumstances, love of neighbor including enemies, family order, etc. He emphasizes the power of prayer, the necessity for perseverance in prayer and specifically credits the prayer of the POWs and of his family and friends and countrymen for saving his life and bringing him home. And after return, Guy credits this same serious, sincere and persistent prayer life for making possible success in the varied experiences and challenges of work and family life. Guy is among the Catholic Parish Speakers or Catholic Retreat Speakers addressing with personal experiences the themes of conversion, forgiveness, the saving power of the cross, and perseverance in disheartening conditions. Living in Ohio, Guy is able to cover the entire United States and has also given numerous talks overseas in Okinawa, England and Germany. Most talks have been in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and other Southern States, but as distant as Texas, Alabama and Florida.
Sent Apr 3, 2011
To: Guy Gruters
Subject: Enjoyed your talk
I attended the men's conference in Springfield, MA yesterday, and very much enjoyed your talk. I learned a lot from it. I have never come anywhere near experiencing the things you have. To this, I can only say thank you for the sacrifices you have made for our country. "Thank you" is wholly inadequate for what you went through in service to the American cause, but it is all I can say.
I learned a lot from your talk. I learned about an experience I could not have even imagined before you spoke. I learned that the power of forgiveness must be infinite. The angry reaction of seeing other Americans killed, and being tortured, and manipulated as you were would seem impossible to dismiss by human standards. The life changing experience you had from coming to forgive gives testimony to this power.
When you found that God was really still in charge, giving you the words to say, sustaining you each day, is so reassuring. If God can still be in charge in that prison camp, well, I guess he is the God of all.
Your experiences in your life after the war also brings me hope. There are so many things as an employee, husband, father, that overwhelm me. I realized as you spoke, that I really don't spend much solitary time praying and listening to the Lord. Certainly, this is a missing ingredient in my life. I am going to create more of this solitary time, and see what develops. From your talk, it sounds like the time frame to see changes, is really indefinite. It may be like so many things, the results slow in coming, more work is needed than ever thought at first. I think something good will happen.
Thanks again, Guy, for making my first men's conference a wonderful experience.
God Bless you, and your whole family,
J.M., Springfield, VT
Sent: June 1, 2012
Subject: Men's Retreat
I hosted a men's retreat and was fortunate to have Guy Gruters as our main speaker. He gave five impassioned talks over three days. His talks had the power to move men into action.He witnessed how the Scriptures and the Saint's teachings personally saved his life in the POW camp, in the Corporate World, and with his wife and seven kids. We laughed and cried. I heartily endorse Guy Gruters for any speaking engagement.
Father Kenneth Hummel, St. Peter Parish, Huber Heights, Ohio
After a men's retreat:
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences on the men's retreat over memorial day weekend. Your experiences were humbling for all of us, and I think also helped us deepen our understanding of the suffering Christ underwent on the cross - and how he asks us to forgive others as well as to carry our burdens in life. Your talks on marriage as well as working the land was also enlightening, and I'm working on growing my first group of vegetables at home. I will hold your words with me for a lifetime, and it will also help me put into perspective any suffering I must endure relative to the suffering asked of others - as well as the suffering of Christ on the cross, and the forgiveness we are all called to give.
Thank you again,
Kyle Reini, Atlanta, GA
For business, corporate and military audiences, Guy is able to give first hand accounts of perseverance, optimism and hope in hopeless conditions and the outstanding combat leadership shown by his commanders in both normal combat and in the tough prison conditions, and how that same type of leadership applies to the difficulties of the business world and military life. This means courage, perseverance and integrity without compromise, with a great emphasis on effective communication throughout and between all components of the organization. Guy has had extensive small business experience as a CEO and then corporate experience as a Director and Vice President - MIS for billion dollar corporations. Guy is also a retired airline pilot. He is a highly effective leadership, keynote or conference speaker on the motivation for excellence and perseverance and how having faith, integrity, and loyalty to one's family, friends, organization and country in any difficult situation results in immeasurable rewards. Guy emphasizes that based on the great leadership he witnessed, doing the right thing is always the leader's prime responsibility and always works out best for the organization, its members and those it serves, no matter what it looks like at the time the decision is made. He effectively makes the key point that outstanding leadership is above all the result of outstanding character, as evidenced by strong faith, hard work, honesty, fairness, courage and effective communication.
Col. R. C. L.
AFROTC Detachment 880
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, Virginia 24450
Mr. Guy Gruters
Dear Mr. Gruters
Finally, please find enclosed a compact disk containing a digital video of your presentation before Virginia Military Institute cadets on 18 November. Let me extend my apology for the much longer than expected time to produce this product. Our delay is due to both technological challenges and my non-availability. We hope you are as pleased with the recording as we are with your presentation.
My words will fail to do justice in expressing our appreciation for your presentation to the cadets. You fulfilled all I could ask for and much more. The lessons you imparted to both the cadets and cadre will resonate for years to come. Several of the cadets shared their sincere sentiments that your words on leadership were the 'most meaningful' and you delivered 'the best presentation' in their three/four years as a cadet. Rest assured that's very high praise coming from the cadets. The overwhelming positive reaction from the cadets exceeds any I've seen for any other speaker during my time at VMI. I along with the cadre are of the same mind as the cadets.
As cadre for the cadets, we are charged with an important duty to develop the character and leadership in our future Air Force Officers. Your presentation provided a substantial boost in furthering our efforts towards those ends. You can expect that we'll use the lessons you provided and the example you set for as long as we're here.
Clearly in all this, there was a larger hand in guiding you to the podium in Jackson Memorial Hall and before the cadets on 18 November. I pray that you can return to speak before the cadets sometime in the future. I honor your service to our country. If I can ever be of assistance, by all means please do not hesitate to let me know.
R.C.L., Colonel, USAF
To a civilian pilot club near Cleveland, Ohio, in January of 2013;
All the members of the Lake Erie Chapter of the 99s thank you for your stunning presentation at our Pilot of the Year/Charter Banquet this past weekend. To say we enjoyed it seems somehow irreverant, but it was unquestionably interesting, eye-opening and even shocking for most people present. Certainly, every pilot there mentally imagined flying along every mission you described so well. It was like listening to radio stories years ago.
Yesterday (a followup discussion with the organizers) was especially enjoyable company. I'm sure you could tell we were glued to all you told us. The list of your recommended readings went out by email this morning.
Although it will never be or can never be enough just to say it, THANK YOU for your service to our country and for our freedom.
It was wonderful to meet you. Good luck on your endeavors and may God bless you and your family.
Bernice, Carol, Nancy and Nancy
Guy is also a family speaker who describes adjusting to the various trials of a difficult set of family circumstances in both military and civilian life, i.e., absences up to six years and more than twenty-five family moves with a large family. He shows how, by relying on God, similar and any difficulties can be successfully addressed every time with great peace and joy. Guy and Sandy have brought up seven children while going through the war and civilian life since.
Guy has also addressed numerous youth (more than 20,000), of groups from elementary schools through colleges. He is one of the youth conference speakers, teen conference speakers, Catholic parish speakers, Catholic retreat speakers or Catholic homeschool speakers whose experiences hold the attention of the audience better than any other speaker in the experience of the organizers of such talks, according to them. The topics for each audience are chosen relevant for the age group or mixed age group. They allow them to witness a world unlike any they have ever experienced, yet with real lessons for life in the States. There has been no problem with any disruptive behavior whatsoever during Guy's talks. In addition, questions by members of the audiences after the talks have not ceased until the organizers had to stop them for time requirements, etc.
God constitutes a family: It is said in a beautiful and profound way that our God in his most intimate mystery is not a hermit - rather he constitutes a family. For he has in himself fatherhod, sonship, and love, which are the essence of a family. This love in the divine family is the Holy Spirit. - Pope John Paul II.
The family has its beginning in the motherhood of the mother, and motherhood has its beginning in the conception of a human being, in the conception of a baby.
In conceiving a baby, the woman becomes a mother; she enters into the mystery of her own motherhood. In the dimensions of human relations, she makes a gift of this motherhood to her husband, and he attains the dignity of fatherhood as a result of her motherhood.
Such is the moral order of this fundamental, eternal, and immutable event in the history of man.
The family is the first and fundamental human community.
It is the environment of life and the environment of love. the life of every society, nation, and state depends on the family...
- Pope John Paul II.
Diocese of Arlington
North Glebe Road
March 19, 2010
Dear Captain Gruters,
On behalf of the Family Life Office at the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, I wish to thank you for participating in our inaugural Men's Conference, Living Faithfully in Challenging Times.
Your story of faith and courage is one that resonated with conference attendees as was evidenced by the resounding praise your talk received throughout the evaluations.
Thank you for all you do to spread the Gospel message of life and hope. Please know that you and your family will be remembered in our prayers.
May the Lord bless you and your family abundantly!
Sincerely in Christ,
Guy has been a motivational, inspirational men's conference speaker, keynote speaker and youth conference speaker for numerous Catholic, Christian, Family, Corporate, Teen, Youth and Military audiences. His uniquely wide real-world experiences make him a truly versatile speaker and one of the Catholic speakers, Christian speakers, Military speakers, Family speakers, Catholic Parish speakers, Catholic Retreat speakers, Catholic teen speakers or Catholic youth speakers who can address a wide range of events.
Center for Neurological Development
This note is long in coming but filled with sincerity. I so much appreciate all your good works in attending our Handicapped Retreat this year. You are such a wonderful reflection of Jesus' life. The woman whose son is in Iraq remembered you during the Thanksgiving petitions the next day at Sunday Mass. She said her time talking with you really helped her. Thank you too for bringing Father L. That meant a lot to me personally as I have wanted him to meet this group. God Bless all.
Very Truly Yours,
The following "Thank you" was received after a talk on Leadership at the Leadership Summit in Jacksonville, Florida, to the Headquarters personnel of the Florida ANG and key personnel of the 125th Fighter Wing (F-15s).
February 12, 2012
I wanted to send you a short note to let you know how much I enjoyed your visit with the officers of the 125th FW FLANG yesterday. I consider it a true honor to have gotten the opportunity to listen to you speak of your time in our nation's service. Your words spoke directly to my heart and all I could say to you yesterday when I had the honor of shaking your hand was "Thank you." I wish I could have said more to you, but if I had tried, I know I would have gotten extremely emotionally upset. I wish to say to you now with still tears in my eyes, Thank you so much for your service, your sacrifice, and your willingness to share with others things that we cannot even begin to imagine. You, Sir, are what makes the United States of America the greatest country in the world. Without men and women like yourself, this country could never endure. Please continue to tell all that will listen of your life so that others may understand what it means to be a true patriot...a true American. May God bless you and your family always.
LtCol, 125th Fighter Wing
The following was received from this website;
Dear Mr. Gruters,
I was only in third grade when you when your POW ordeal ended, yet your story has had a profound impact on me. I have watched all of your videos on YouTube and words fail to express my respect and admiration for you, your experiences and insights into life. I'm sad you had to endure what you did, but your story some forty-plus years later is making a positive difference in the lives of countless people, myself included. You're living proof that there is a God, and my faith grows because of your story. Thank you for your service ... and for so much more as a human testament to that which is divine.
Guy's outstanding combat record, his POW years and experiences since then contribute to him being one of the best motivational and inspirational Catholic, Christian, Corporate, Family or Military Conference speakers for your organization's next event.
As well as being a polished professional with numerous engagements as a small business, corporate, military, family, Catholic and Christian conference and/or keynote speaker to his credit, Guy will also bring a unique perspective to your next event. Please consider the About page and the Speaker page of this website to decide if you agree. Returning from six years in Vietnam, Guy spent many years as a small business CEO and high-level corporate executive officer, while raising a large family. The combination of extensive combat experience and being a POW returning with honor from extreme difficulties, along with powerful experiences in the small business, corporate and family real world, allows Guy to be a tailored speaker for your special requirements. If engaged, Guy shall be an ideal keynote and/or motivational, inspirational speaker for your event.
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