Rosie Grier opens up about his life at Chamber awards ceremony

DOWNEY - The trajectory of Rosie Grier's life has taken him from humble beginnings in Cuthbert, Georgia where he was born, to Penn State where he shone in football, to a legendary career first with the New York Giants then with the Los Angeles Rams where he was one of the Fearsome Foursome (along with Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy), to mega-media exposure when he figured as a protective angel at the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968, to a long-lasting celebrity career as a functioning movie/TV personality, and to his current roles as an ordained minister and inspirational speaker.He touched on all these highlights, often with a dash of humor, as keynote speaker at the Chamber's Awards Luncheon on July 27, but, on a deeper level, he tried to impart a few serious messages to the group of distinguished people in attendance. He used the power of leadership to effect change as his main leitmotif. "You plant the seeds that make your businesses grow and prosper," he said, adding, "You are in a unique position to meet the needs of people in the community." Further, he said, "You have the ability to create better products, come up with new ideas. This is in line with Kennedy's challenge, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country'." As a peroration on this theme, Grier said, "We are a great nation when we play according to the rules, and when we respect one another." He spoke as well about the power of prayer and the need for forgiveness: "We should all fall on our knees and pray" and "If you really love someone, then you should know how to forgive." Grier, who turned 80 on July 14, related what he told his son Leroy (to loud applause). He said he told Leroy how he wanted to spend the rest of his life: "I want to serve my fellowman, and how I can serve my brother better." He said, "If I can somehow impart my beliefs and best thoughts to people I leave behind, then perhaps I'll be leaving people who'll be able to change the course of events in their time." He grew more serious, and more measured, when he talked about his wife: "I lost my wife on June 10, 2011, and I never realized how much time she spent in raising our son, making sure he went to the best school, and so on." He also spoke about the power of one individual, if he believes strongly in himself and the multiplicative power of relationships: "What we need to do is work together, what we've got to realize is we can change the world by affirming: I'm precious; I'm unique; I'm one of a kind; there's nobody in the world like me. I'm a winner." Then he gave his 'most important, most resounding' message: "Don't say it can't be done. Say instead how can it be done." Honored were: Small Business of the Year - Gilbert Alarcon, Avenue Press Printing Co.; Mid-Size Business of the Year - Bob Ciatti, Efficient Lighting & Electric; Large Business of the Year - Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (accepting was George Garza); Director of the Year - Michael Murray, Downey Used Cars; and Volunteer of the Year - Mia Vasquez, Saywell Florist. Also recognized/saluted were the Committee Persons of the Year: Ambassadors - Jeannie Wood, Albertsons; Christmas Parade - Lee Ann Sears, Downey Rose Float Association; Golf - Mia Vasquez, Saywell Florist; Legislative Advocacy - Steve Hoffman, Law Office of Steven J. Hoffman; Membership Events/Concert -- Rowena Dominguez, Century 21 My Real Estate Co.; and Street Faire - Rick Rodriguez, RMI International. Chairman of the proceedings was Chamber president-elect Alex Saab.

********** Published: August 02, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 16