Guy at US Air Force Academy
Sandy at Florida St University
Guy is a published Motivational Speaker (POW, Fighter Pilot, Businessman, Family man)
on four primary topics; Forgiveness: Leadership: Teamwork: Conversion
*** Forgiveness: A Way to Imitate Christ
Learn how I learned to forgive my captors, who killed my friend, beat and tortured me
... A storm of harsh treatment followed quickly. My captors beat me, humiliated me, spit on me. They tortured me. They killed my friend for no reason. They hardly fed us. They treated us worse than dogs. Bugs and worms and rats were everywhere. It was hell on earth and I was living in it...
No one can imagine what it was like to shiver from cold, or to sweat from heat for days on end. No one can imagine being kicked and beaten and hung by ropes. No one can imagine the filth and the lack of medical care. Six out of every seven of us died, and I was ready to go at any moment...
I prayed: God save me from my sins. Save me from hating others...
Can you imagine being happy and joyful in a prison camp? Can you imagine having peace of mind, not knowing if you were going to live or die that day? Can you imagine praying for those who kicked you, beat you, fed you bread with rat excrement in it and water with worms in it?
Click below for Two Page Magazine Article Synopsis of Speech:
*** Leadership (Motivating & Serving the Team): When It Is Hard to Lead
Being a leader when all are dependent on you for their very life and mental stability
Man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
This talk’s focus is on lessons learned about leadership and team building under the harsh conditions of prison life in North Vietnam. I was a POW for five years after being shot down. I was flying a fighter plane and went from being a soldier on the Air Force fighting team in the air to being a soldier in a prison camp with all new friends and many very angry and cruel enemies. There were more than 3500 aircrew shot down and not rescued (MIA/POWs), however, less than 500 made it home. I feel sure it was because of leadership fostering excellent teamwork and maintaining a positive attitude that any of us made it out alive.
Leadership must be clearly delegated and must take responsibility for the mission goals, communicating and selling them to the team, motivating their accomplishment, and all the practical decisions and communication necessary for success. Obviously, leaders must have the clear authority to make necessary decisions to reach the goals. Teamwork is sticking together with others in loyal support of leadership and each other to accomplish a common goal or goals. This was done in the communist prison. Leadership worked with us as a group to form a plan, an outline of what our goals were. Then we did all we could to reach the goals. Any group of people can do the same if they bond as a team. Then they will reach the goal or goals they set as a team.
To the leader, though, belongs the final responsibility of setting the goal or goals, hopefully after considering input from team members as mentioned above, as well as organizational objectives. A goal has to be reachable or at least credible to be properly sought. A goal has to be a goal to each member of the team. A goal has to be placed high on the priority list over and above even the leader’s and team members’ wants and desires and at times even needs. We had a number of goals, but the primary one was to return with honor to the United States. This seemed impossible at first since the enemy had all physical power and was striving for the dishonor of each one of us. This meant we had to sacrifice a great portion of our desires and needs to fight them. We had to undergo or risk torture continuously for many years to meet our goals. We did not relish torture. We woke each morning in dread and it never went away. In the same way, for example, a business leader and team might set the primary goal to grow in customer service or reputation or market share before the obvious eventual goal of flourishing profitability-wise in the marketplace. Or an athletic coach may set the primary goal to have good sportsmanship and/or everybody playing in the games rather than the obvious won-lost record. But regardless, all of these situations would necessarily result in denial of desires and needs of both the leadership and team members. Self-discipline or self-denial, call it what you will, is absolutely vital, and most of all in the leader.
If asked to talk, I would make all these points and then relate how all this was done under the harsh conditions of the prison camp environment.
Leadership is not just nice to have, but rather it is critical and absolutely necessary. Otherwise there is simply chaos. The leader has to commit and lead the team and those on the team have to follow the leader. This was how we made it in the prison camp. The officer with the highest rank by date was known and everyone obeyed him as the leader. If none of us did such, then we would not have had a team and the organization would have fallen apart. The goals that all wanted to reach would not have been reached. This is why obedience to a selected leader is so important. This is why the chain of command in a military unit or an organization’s management or an athletic team’s coach must be perfectly respected and obeyed.
This point would also be covered in my talk and experiences related to this topic given.
Once a common goal (or goals) to reach is established, then all must communicate well so progress reaching the goal is made. Plans have to be made and implemented. Tasks have to be given and carried out and feedback returned to the leader. We did not have e-mail and telephones in prison camp but we did have ways to communicate and receive the orders from our leaders. We did what we were told to do by them. All followed through, and as a result we stood united against the enemy and reached the goals we had set.
I would express to the audience the importance of communication and review how important it was to the team in the prison camp.
The leader and the entire team must love each other and care for each other. This we did in the prison camp. The leader gave the best example of this to all of those on the team. In the same way the leadership of an organizational team must care for the team. All team members have needs, all have demands on their time and all have personal lives. If the leader does not have a heart, his or her employees will soon discover this and reduce their effort to a minimum to just get by. Life in any organization can be so cold at times. Well, this fact has to be faced but it is also a fact that all are human and must be recognized as individuals with needs that are met if possible and appropriately by the leadership. A cold leader, a leader that takes advantage of his or her team, will soon fall by the wayside and the goals of the team will also fail to be met.
A team cannot function if they are not motivated to work hard to achieve a goal or goals. The leader must motivate the team and keep it motivated. Of course, to motivate others a leader must lead by his/her good example. Without good character, especially honesty, fairness and hard work, a leader will have real trouble motivating any team. But there must also be reasons given for each team member to do their best. As a critical task, the leader must make sure that there is always sincere and consistent positive reinforcement of all good work accomplished up and down the line. Material reward is fine but not necessarily the most effective and generally cannot be done many times each week or each day for each member of the team. Honest praise, achievement awards, recognition, etc., are even more important and can be as frequent as even minor success takes place hourly. A cheerful smile should never leave the leader's face and no complaint ever leave his mouth. Positive, positive, positive, not even a thought of failure. Goals can be reached if all are motivated to try their hardest to reach them and nobody quits. The tougher the obstacle presented, the more consistently and courageously the leader and team members must strive to overcome it. Highly praised and positively encouraged team members work miracles on a regular basis.
This certainly was the case in the prison environment and I would point this out in the talk.
It is the leader’s responsibility to make sure each team member has a sense of confidence in their ability to perform or in the organization’s commitment to train them so that they can. Thus each person on a team must be given tasks that they can do and perform so that all the tasks done by the whole group reach the goal. If not, it is the time for applicable training or education. A leader must determine and know the capabilities of each team member and also establishes personal goals for each member. Some team members are stronger than others, some weaker, some have knowledge of some things, others know other things better, but all team members must do their best with what they have or know, and must be encouraged to request help if over their head. Good leadership encourages this honesty.
Leadership must educate to and ensure that all team members follow standard procedures and rules. Most importantly, this includes being honest about all failures, communicating them to leadership, and adjusting procedures and techniques so that they do not recur, if at all possible. All must be responsible and follow through and the leader must lead the way in soliciting and encouraging reasonable adjustments. Again, I would compare the organizational team role in this regard to the team role played in the camp.
The primary goal would be to express to the audience the absolute need for committed, effective leadership that fosters willing, can-do, fearless and dedicated teamwork in order to consistently fulfill the organization’s needs and dreams.
*** Teamwork (Serving the Leader & Each Other): When the Going Gets Tough
Superior lessons on doing things together as a team based on experience in very difficult conditions
The Law of the Jungle
Now this is the Law of the Jungle – as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the Law runneth forward and back –
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Rudyard Kipling, Second Jungle Book
The meat of the talk would be lessons learned about teamwork or team building under the harsh conditions of prison life in North Vietnam. I was a POW for five years after being shot down. I was flying a fighter plane and went from being a soldier on the Air Force fighting team in the air to being a soldier in a prison camp with all new friends and many very angry and cruel enemies. There were more than 3500 aircrew shot down and not rescued (MIA/POWs), however, less than 500 made it home. I feel sure it was because of teamwork and maintaining a positive attitude that any of us made it out alive.
Teamwork to me is sticking together with others to accomplish a common goal or goals. This was what was done in the communist prison. We as a group formed a plan, an outline of what our goals were. Then we did all we could to reach the goals. Any group of people can do the same if they bond as a team. Then they will reach the goals they set as a team.
A goal has to be reachable or at least believed to be reachable. A goal has to be a goal to each member of the team. A goal has to be placed high on the priority list over and above even the team members wants and desires and at times even needs. If asked to talk I would make all these points and then relate how all this was done under the harsh conditions of the prison camp environment.
To talk about teamwork without mentioning the necessity of a team leader would be ridiculous. You cannot have a team without a leader. The leader has to commit and lead the team and those on the team have to follow the leader. This was how we made it in the prison camp. The officer with the highest rank by date was known and everyone obeyed him as the leader. If none of us did such then we would not have had a team and the organization would have fallen apart. The goals that all wanted to reach would not have been reached. This is why obedience to a selected leader is so important. This point would also be covered in my talk and experiences related to this topic given.
Once a common goal (or goals) to reach is agreed upon, then all must communicate well so progress reaching the goal is made. Plans have to be made and implemented. Tasks have to be given and carried out and feedback returned to the leader. We did not have e-mail and telephones in prison camp but we did have ways to communicate and receive the orders from our leader. We did what we were told to do by our leader. All followed through and as a result we stood united against the enemy and reached the goals we had set. I would express to the audience the importance of communication and review how important it was to the team in the prison camp.
A team must love each other and care for each other. This we did in the prison camp. The leader gave the best example of this to all of those on the team. In the same way the leadership of a organizational team must care for the team. All have needs, all have demands on their time and all have personal lives. If the leader does not have a heart, his or her employees will soon discover this and reduce their effort to a minimum to just get by. Life in an organization can be so cold at times. Well, this fact has to be faced but it is also a fact that all are human and must be recognized as individuals with needs that are met if possible and appropriately by the leadership. A cold leader, a leader that takes advantage of his or her team will soon fall by the wayside and the goals of the team will also fail to be met.
A team cannot function if they are not motivated to work hard to achieve a goal or goals. The leader must motivate the team. To motivate others a leader must lead by his example. There must also be reasons given for each team member to do their best. Goals can be reached if all try their hardest to reach them and the harder the obstacle is, the more consistently and hard all should try. This certainly was the case in the prison environment and I would point this out in the talk.
Each person on a team must be given tasks that they can do and perform so that all the tasks done by the whole group reach the goal. A leader must determine and know the capabilities of each team member and also establishes personal goals for each member. Some team members are stronger than others, some weaker, some have knowledge of some things, others know other things better, but all team members must do their best with what they have or know. All team members must also follow standard procedures and rules. Very importantly, this includes being honest about all failures, communicating them to leadership, and adjusting procedures and techniques so that they do not recur, if at all possible. All must be responsible and follow through and the leader must lead the way. Again I would compare the organizational team role in this regard to the team role I played in the camp.
The primary goal would be to express to the audience the absolute need for committed, unselfish teamwork with firm support of leadership in the organization to reach the common organizational goals that have been set.
*** Finding God In Prison Camp: Locked Up With God
How I found my God in the prison camps of North Vietnam
Fruit of God's Love Within
Now this is the Blessing of God’s Tender Love - who chooses such love has been saved;
For the soul that obeys lives forever, and no worries for life or the grave.
To give, care and share with our Dad; to give, care and share with our neighbor,
With forgiveness for all, judgement for none, perfection in all the day's labour.
As the Heavens quiet the evening, His Law gives the peace of a dove,
For the spawn of God’s Love is each soul, and the goal of each soul is God’s Love.
With prayer, His Grace works the miracle, Love's creature made gentle and mild,
Then courage in all the troubles and trials, and a smile in our work here below,
For Father allows only the best each moment, what a great comfort to know,
So the Fruit of God’s Love Within (through it all), is the peace and the joy of Love's child.
Guy's talk on Teamwork/Leadership in Difficult Conditions has been well-received by all audiences;
To whom it may concern,
On April 16, 2013, Guy Gruters spoke as the keynote speaker at the Reliable Plant Conference and Exhibition. There were more than 1,400 attendees and 100 companies present from 26 nations. The annual event was held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and sponsored by many industry-leading companies, including Shell Lubricants.
Guy spoke on Teamwork and Leadership and did a wonderful job. His presentation was very relevant to this subject. All attendees enjoyed it and received much wisdom and inspiration from his testimony of being in tough conditions and still obeying the leader and getting things done.
Guy’s presentation brought tears to many eyes because he spoke of what he and other soldiers went through so that our country could remain free. His analogies and comparisons were very well understood. Anyone in his shoes would have had a hard time living, much less participating on a team established in the Communist prison camp.
Guy gave examples of heroic leadership that were truly inspiring and worthy of praise. I walked away a better leader and team player than I was before his presentation and am sure all those who heard his speech benefited in the same way. I would gladly attend his presentation again and would recommend it to any company or organization.
Recent Corporate Clients/Sponsors (keynote or primary speaker) include:
Shell Oil Corp.
Southern Electric Corporation
There have also been numerous speeches given this past year to schools, military units, churches and prisons domestic and overseas (>35).
Friends and Family,
I would like to announce that my book "Locked Up With God" is now available as a printed copy on Amazon.com as well as an ePub on Kindle, Apple iBooks or Nook. This book has been endorsed by Colonel Bud Day, Medal of Honor recipient, and others. It delineates valuable lessons learned throughout my life regarding faith, family, business and the military.
Locked up with God: My Best Thirteen Speeches, by Capt. Guy D Gruters, Vietnam POW
This book covers many topics and subjects. The talks that have been transcribed are great ones. The moral teachings revealed are outstanding. I have known Guy for many, many years. He is a hero in my book. He walked the walk.
I strongly recommend and endorse this book and know that any who read it will be greatly touched and affected in a positive way. I particulary strongly recommend it be read by young men in the military, especially in the Air Force.
Words never die and these words will last and be doing much good long after I and Guy are long gone. Guy has given and will be leaving behind a great gift to his countrymen and women and I am very proud that my name will be used to help others read and keep this book on their bookshelf for years to come.
In the spirit of our great country,
Colonel George E. “Bud” Day, U.S.A.F.
Medal of Honor
A fighter in World War II (US Marine, Pacific, more than two years), then Air Force Fighter Pilot in the Korean War and the War in Vietnam, Colonel George E. "Bud" Day was the most decorated Air Force officer in history, and the most decorated military officer in America to his death at 88 in July, 2013. His funeral, with more than eight hundred vehicles in procession for forty miles, was saluted and cheered by more than 200,000 people lining the highway from Ft. Walton Beach to NAS Pensacola, Florida.
The complete "Taps," originally "Il Silencio," (The Silence), in honor of Bud Day;
For those that missed it, this is a link to the ABC interview on the Nixon Foundation coverage of the 40th year POW reunion, held in Yorba Linda, CA. Our interview (Charlie Plumb, Lee Ellis, and myself), the one that was shown Tuesday night (May 27, 2013) on ABC World News Tonight by Diane Sawyer, is featured toward the bottom of the page and
can be seen by clicking on the arrow (The video title is: Remembering the POWs of the Vietnam War). It also has very nice additional coverage of the reunion.
Best and God Bless,
Guy and Sandy
This is the Video by the Nixon Foundation on the 40th YEAR POW Reunion hosted by the Nixon Library, with Guy appearing multiple times
Guy and Sandy at the POW 40th Year Reunion, Nixon Library, May 24th, 2013
October 4, 2013
Locked Up With God – Review by Joe Crecca
Guy Gruters is one of those rare individuals who combine feelings of intense patriotism and love of the United States of America with an even more fundamental and deeper love of God.
As a “Misty”, “Fast FAC”, F-100 fighter pilot on the most dangerous missions, Guy Gruters was shot down not once, but twice. Through his unwavering belief in God and through prayer he was able to overcome his hatred towards the enemy, endure excruciating torture and survive over five years of brutal captivity in the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison system in communist North Vietnam.
In “Locked Up With God” Guy Gruters is able to coalesce the ostensibly unrelated themes of Faith, Family, Forgiveness and Suffering with War, Patriotism and Heroism interlaced with actual combat accounts into a cohesive and gripping narrative.
When flying missions in small, slow-moving, spotter aircraft, his selflessness and courage saved the lives of those surrounded by an enemy in overwhelming numbers more than once. On one occasion, he even landed his 0-1 “Bird Dog" at a Special Forces Camp under siege so that he could determine the precise locations of the enemy firing positions before once again taking off under intense enemy fire to direct fighter airstrikes, saving the encampment from being overrun by 500 North Vietnamese Regular soldiers. On another mission, he was directly responsible for the rescue of six LRRPs (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol soldiers) surrounded by a strong enemy force in stormy, night weather.
I can personally attest to Guy Gruters' honesty, integrity and faith; I was one of his cell mates as a Prisoner-of-War with him in the Hanoi Hilton. Guy is one of the closest friends I will ever have.
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 a motivational speaker with an engaging, warm, positive, inspirational manner for Corporate or Christian keynote, leadership, youth or conference events. 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 as a motivational speaker 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;
October 11, 2013
Thank you for the autographed book, Locked Up With God. Thank you even more for serving your country and becoming the person you are today. Everyone loved having you at ILCA. I'm sure you have heard this before, but your presentation was very inspirational. Because of people like you, I am able to have the family I have today.
Thank you again for your book, your service and your faith.
Semper Fi and God Bless,
Scott Doyle, Cristine and Payton
December 13, 2013
Captain Guy Gruters is a real American Hero. His experiences and trials touched and changed our lives. His faith in God, Family, Friends and the American dream is an inspiration. The A to Z Meats team was blessed to have Guy for our Christmas party. We are truly thankful.
Ms. Jessica Strahm
How I Found God: in the Prison Camps of North Vietnam
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 Motivational 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 Motivational Speakers or Catholic Retreat Motivational 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 motivational 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
Teamwork, Leadership: when the going gets tough:
As a motivational speaker 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 motivational speaker on the reasons 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 motivational 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 been a motivational speaker for numerous youth (more than 20,000), in audiences 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.
Referencing a talk to a High School Assembly, November 21, 2013;
Hi Captain Gruters,
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to present your story to the students and staff at Kings High School.
What a remarkable and inspirational story you have. The school was buzzing after your talk and had the students thinking about how your lessons of encouragement and perseverance can play into their lives. Not only did you get the students thinking, you showed them firsthand what true courage and leadership are. Your delivery was exceptional, directly relating to the students and capturing their attention from the start. We could have listened to you for hours.
I also appreciate the extra time you spent with the students, community members, and family. It shows that you are willing to take the extra step to facilitate your message, which is one that all people should hear.
I look forward to seeing you again next year. Thanks for your service to our country, it is a better place because of individuals like you.
Rob Robison, MBA, M.Ed
Warren County Career Center/Kings High School
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 speaker for men's conferences, a keynote motivational speaker and youth conference motivational speaker for numerous Catholic, Christian, Family, Corporate, Teen, Youth and Military audiences. His uniquely wide real-world experiences make him a truly versatile motivational 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 speakers for your Corporate, Catholic, Christian, Family or Military organization's next event.
As well as being a polished motivational speaker with numerous engagements as a small business, corporate, military, family, Catholic and Christian 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.