Peter Gruters

Full Bio

Peter was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in the early 1950’s. He lived there with his two brothers and three sisters for several years, then moved with the family to Sarasota, Florida. In Sarasota, Peter had a normal childhood attending kindergarten and his first eight years of school at St. Martha’s Catholic school. Then he attended Junior and Senior High at Sarasota High School.

His focus was football in Junior and Senior high school, where he played as offensive guard and defensive end. In high school he learned extensive woodworking skills, becoming the teacher’s shop assistant in his senior year. He served on the senior board and was very active in the social life of the school. He met his future wife in his high school typing class. She was also involved in football and became the captain of the cheerleaders in her senior year. Either being on the football team or being the captain of the cheerleaders was quite an accomplishment because the school boasted more than 1800 students.

Peter attended the local junior college in the county north of Sarasota. Then it was on to Florida Technological University which has since become the University of Central Florida. Peter worked during the summers for the city utility department, a cabinet shop, as a frame carpenter and also re-roofed the large two-story family house alone, removing the original cedar shingles and replacing them with a new plywood roof and shingles. This was a tough job and a big challenge because the house has very steep roof sections and four large dormers. The work was also done in heat of the Florida summer.

Peter did much camping, sailing, surfing and scuba diving in high school and college. He also learned how to snow ski when he visited his brother, Terry, who at the time was a B-52 pilot stationed in South Dakota. In high school, his grades suffered because of all the focus on sports, social life and other activities.  But when attending college, the focus changed to mostly all schoolwork. As a result, he graduated with honors, Cum Laude, in the College of engineering, specializing in civil engineering.

At the University, he also joined the Sigma Chi fraternity and became a Life Loyal Sig. Immediately after graduation, he took a trip in a Volkswagen with one of his fraternity brothers north to Washington, DC, across to South Dakota, Wyoming and California. Then along California north to south and across the Southern States back to Florida. They camped in many of the national parks.

Before leaving on this cross-country trip, he had applied to work with Russell and Axon, a consulting engineering firm. When he returned to Sarasota, work started with Russell and Axon in their Bradenton branch office just north of Sarasota.

During this entire period of his life, he was deeply touched and moved, as was his entire family, by the fact that both of his brothers were in the Air Force and fighting in the Vietnam War. His brother Guy became a POW and his brother Terry served three tours in the combat zone doing what he could do to free his older brother, Guy. There was great heartache and great insecurity but finally it all ended. His brothers returned to civilian life.

A year after he graduated from the University of Central Florida, he married his wife who graduated from the same university in the following class.

Peter had an exciting career as an engineer working in the branch office of a large national engineering firm. He worked on the Manatee County dam emergency spillway addition project, and a major county water treatment plant upgrade which was located near the dam.  He also worked on Port Manatee improvements and the county’s two hundred million dollar EPA funded wastewater utility system improvement project. He lived in Bradenton while working with this firm.

However, after being assigned a very time demanding job as resident inspector on the large Manatee County multimillion dollar water plant upgrading project, Peter decided to leave the firm and obtained a job working for the largest consulting firm in Sarasota at the time; Smally, Welford and Nalven. He spent the next ten years of his life at this firm, first as a project manager and then as a marketing director. He became one of the youngest Associates or owners of the firm before deciding to leave the firm and start his own construction and manufacturing company.

During this period, he had two sons with his high school sweetheart and now his wife. He also was a Cub Scout master. The pack grew to 70 cub scouts in the five years he headed it up. Then he became a scoutmaster for two years. He was also active in the Florida Engineering Society.

His focus in the engineering company was quite varied between land development and utility system planning, design and construction. He was very involved in the large Palmer Ranch development project and the utility system created for it. He also served as the engineer doing the studies and retainer work for the Sarasota county water system. He was the first engineer in the office to own a PC computer with word processing capability. Peter used a computer extensively to develop a Hardy cross analysis for the entire Sarasota county water system. He also used a PC to develop a CPM construction schedule allowing seventeen different contractors to meet the tight schedule for the flagship development of the Palmer Ranch which was the Prestancia Golf Course and development project. The CPM schedule was necessary to meet the deadline for the first Chrysler Cup tournament on the new course. The deadline was met, and it was covered on national TV.

Because of a thorough understanding of the technical and client relations aspects of the consulting engineering business, Peter was appointed to serve as the engagement director and coordinator for the firm. This position included preparation of the company’s first marketing plan and preparation of numerous detailed technical proposals including project approaches along with staff resumes, manpower estimates and company project histories. Upon being shortlisted, Peter prepared and participated in many presentations to county and municipal selection committees and commissioners.

Peter moved on to a new career, starting his own business as a contractor with his cousin. He took the fifteen hour long state contractor’s exam, passed it and became a state licensed and bonded utility contractor. He and his cousin developed a line of “No Dig” products to repair utility system infrastructure without having to use destructive time-consuming construction methods on existing structures.

With this new company, Peter prepared a complete four-color brochure with the aid of computer graphic software program. He developed a contact mailing list for the company using a contact management database software program. Numerous “cold calls” were made to city and county officials throughout the state of Florida with the aid of a “canned slide” presentation developed from computer-generated and project installation slides.

As a result Peter landed a large federally funded and specified construction project for the city of Sarasota. This was in addition to many other significant projects completed throughout the state of Florida.  Peter also entered product competition in an Atlanta, Georgia, demonstration project. The new company’s product was voted the best product out of a total of nine different systems of the new “No Dig” product type technology.

His new business had startup problems, but soon was stable and solvent. However, the struggles and all the time Peter had to spend getting this new venture off the ground put such stress on his family that his wife gave up and divorced him.

Peter was totally destroyed by this. It brought him to his knees. It caused him to rethink everything that he had put his “all into” in this life.  He turned to God and was given a mission that became his focus in life and still is. The mission is to do what he can to end divorce and strengthen the Catholic family unit.

It has been a very exciting and rewarding adventure. There is much hope for the future. He has been working with both his brothers on this mission for over 20 years. Peter now has over twenty manuscripts to publish. He has developed a natural and loving way for families to live on the land. It is the lifestyle portion of what he hopes becomes a new religious order/lay association in the Church. He also has drafted a Constitution for the order and developed a spiritual life that is in harmony with the lifestyle.

The new religious order/lay association is in its infancy. It has not yet been submitted for approval to the Church.   All is now being put in order.  He has been working with about twenty families to continue refining and perfecting the lifestyle, spirituality and the Constitution document.

During this period of Peter’s life, he has also spent time in the Virginia mountains on the edge of the Shenandoah Valley where he created a natural path through various types of landscapes along a river with twenty-one varied spots or stations to stop and reflect upon God’s creation. A book with meditations was written and been published. The new devotion is called the Stations of Creation. The new pilgrimage site of the first Stations of Creation will soon be open to the Catholic public in a formal way. Final details are being worked out.

The practice of this new devotion results in a person’s growth in the realization that there is a God and that God loves him or her. The Stations of Creation’s path was created in the Church’s designated “Year of Faith.” The new devotion is also very much in tune with the Pope’s new encyclical Laudato Si because of its focus on God’s Creation. Those children and adults making the walk and praying at the Stations have given Peter and others solid positive feedback. The devotion can now spread throughout the world and help Catholic families return to their roots. Because without belief and faith in God and love of Him, families and individuals become lost to the world, its allurements and temptations. This is what happened to his family and it resulted in its failure.

During this period of his life, Peter has also been very involved in Guy’s ministry as a public speaker. Peter has assisted Guy with most of his speechwriting and has played a key role in the creation of Guy’s book Locked Up With God. Peter is now deeply involved with the new Heroic Love film because of having a great experience and knowledge base about Guy’s life and Terry’s life. Due, of course, to being their brother and having lived through the years when Guy was a POW and Terry was fighting to free him.

Peter is now working on a new book, titled Heroic Love, which will be the companion volume for the Heroic Love film.

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