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pow credits god for surviving prison camp

Monday, November 13, 2017 13:52 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

Guy Gruters was brutally tortured in conditions deplorable beyond imagine at a Vietnamese prison camp and his hunger pains vanished only when his weight dwindled to a skeletal 120 pounds.

It was only then that the small amount of bread and water given to him each day was enough to fill his ravaged stomach.

Gruters credits a close relationship he developed with God for being able to endure the over five-years he spent in the same prison camp as U.S Senator John McCain while others gave up and died.

''It was hell on earth. It really was,'' said Gruters Friday night at Sacred Heart Church in LaPorte.

The U.S Air Force fighter pilot was captured 45 minutes after gunned down in Vietnam.

The POW's in each cell had just one bucket for disposing of waste and the skin sores along with parasites in their bodies from the filth that developed added to the desperation.

Temperatures dropping below freezing without heat or even a stitch of clothing on didn't make things easier.

Gruters said many POW's stopped eating as a way out but with a wife and two young children at home he dropped to his knees in prayer for the first time since captured.

He kept praying and three months later was able to ask God to forgive his captors then several weeks later he really meant it and by grace developed the heart and strength to even thrive at times, Gruters said.

He also experienced feelings of hope and joy even giving thanks for the extreme suffering as others who kept hating and complaining perished.

''Solitude was great for me. It gave me a chance to really believe in God's infinite power. It became a blessing to me,'' said Gruters.

He even started directly forgiving the guards and advising them to repent but his evangelism landed him in a hot box and just as things were getting very humid inside two inches of rain fell in just a half hour.

''The hot box was no longer hot,'' he said.

It wasn't long before conditions at the prison camp improved slightly.

The POW's were also given enough food to start putting some of their weight back on, he said.

The war ended two-years later in 1973 and soon he was back home in Florida getting to know his children now 7 and 8.

He was one of the 591 POW's from all military branches to survive the war.

Gruters and his wife, Sandy, had five more children.

After retiring from the military, he became a commercial airline pilot then later a salesman for IBM.

Gruters now lives near Dayton, Ohio and is a motivational speaker using his life changng experience as a POW to inspire others.

The primary message he tries to convey during his presentations is God answers prayers.

Originally, Gruter said he was more of a casual believer in God and didn't realize until he was at the brink in the prison camp that he's actually there for people who ask for help.

''He wants all of us to turn to him and pray. When you do, he solves the problems,'' he said.