Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Firms Receive Blue Chip Awards

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Firms Receive Blue Chip Awards

Article excerpt

As chief executive officer of CD Warehouse, a national chain of music stores, and commanding general of the Oklahoma National Guard, Edmond's Jerry Grizzle is quick to thank his family for his accomplishments.

"You can't do the things I've been able to do without help and support at home," said Grizzle, 45, who earlier this year was handed the guidon at a change of command ceremony in Pawnee.

On Wednesday, Oklahoma City-based CD Warehouse was one of two state firms to be presented a Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative Award from MassMutual and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Fleming Ford of Newcastle received the other Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative award. The awards were presented at the Petroleum Club.

Grizzle said assuming command of the 45th Infantry Brigade was "a dream come true," especially since his father, Richard Grizzle, retired as a colonel from the Oklahoma National Guard and is a combat veteran of the Korean War.

"To think I'm commanding his former division ... I started as a private first class in a rifle company," he said. Grizzle now is a brigadier general.

There has never been a time in Grizzle's life when he didn't feel like he was a member of the 45th Infantry.

"I've never not been a part of the military. There's never been a day of my life that I haven't been a Thunderbird," he said.

He enlisted in 1971 at age 18 and went to basic training at Fort Polk, La., where he was honor graduate of his training company. His upbringing and familiarity with the military gave him a distinct advantage over most of his fellow soldiers, many of whom were draftees during the Vietnam War.

"A lot of the things you learn in basic training, I knew how to do before I got there. I knew how to tear down an M-16 and put it back together, things like that, before I ever got to basic training," he said. "That certainly helped give me an opportunity to be more comfortable with the environment. I certainly had a better foundation than most people coming in."

Apparently the Army thought so, too. Grizzle was invited to attend Officer Candidate School after completing training. He graduated and was commissioned as a second lieutenant at age 19.

But he still had a civilian life to live.

He had graduated from Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa after attending 20 different schools in Oklahoma because his father's military career kept the family moving.

He went to Southwestern Oklahoma State University on a football scholarship and was a running back.

"I played football for two years and decided that life in the NFL wasn't in my crystal ball. I gave up my scholarship and had to have some way of staying in school," he said.

Grizzle took a job as a sacker at a Humpty grocery store while earning a degree in accounting.

He went to work for the owner of several Pizza Hut franchises as financial controller. …

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