Motivational Speaker to City College “Love and compassion for each other makes us stronger”


Paige Forrester

During City College’s Veterans Day celebrations, motivational speaker, retired Sgt. 1st Class Greg Stube gave a presentation on campus, Nov. 7, 2017.

Paige Forrester, Staff Writer

Nov. 7, 2017

When asked how someone overcomes an injury as severe as having half your intestines spill out your side, the motivational speaker said, “You don’t… I still have a hole there and I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments in my daily life because of it.”

As a part of Veteran’s Day programs during November at City College, retired Sgt. 1st Class Greg Stube gave students an uplifting speech about leadership, overcoming incredible obstacles, and what ‘service’ really means.

Stube joined the U.S. Army in 1988 and served for 23 years. “ I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” he said of joining the Special Forces, and earning his place among the Green Berets. As their Medical Sergeant, Stube was in charge of taking care of anyone wounded during a mission.
He explained to the audience that while in the Special Forces he was able to earn his spot on an A-team, and unlike many assumptions about this position, the job had a lot more to do with training and equipping other countries’ militaries how to defend themselves and their freedom.

It was through his story about Riley Stephens that Stube conveyed to the students how he learned to become a better leader and how the contributions of everyone are what make a team, not the actions of one.

While teaching a medical program, Stube said there was one student that he felt was “a waste of oxygen…and I gave up on him.” He described to the class how everyday he waited for a reason to drop this individual from the program. When the individual flunked all of the requirements, he made sure his recommendation was “NTR,” “Never To Return.” Stube said he felt that “If that guy got a Green Beret, then mine means nothing!” This individual was Riley Stephens.

As time went, Stube got a phone call from another instructor telling him that Stephens had become an exemplary soldier and wanted to go into the medical program again to make it to Special Forces. However, he wouldn’t do it unless Stube said it was OK. Stube gave the OK but the two didn’t meet again until a day that changed Stube’s life forever.

Paige Forrester
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Greg Stube gave students an uplifting speech about leadership, overcoming incredible obstacles, and what ‘service’ really means, City College, Nov. 7, 2017.

On his last tour, Stube volunteered for one last mission because many of his students urged him to come with them and he agreed. While out on patrol they came into contact with Taliban members who opened fire. The situation became dire, and it became clear that they needed to get out. Stube drove their vehicle up a hill to try and help his comrades but as he went to do so, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off. Stube was injured: he received third degree burns, shrapnel wounds from the explosion, and a large gaping hole under his right pelvic bone that spilled out his intestines. Stube said he thought, “this is it.”

When help arrived, a medic began tending to Stube’s wounds. Stube recognized him instantly. It was Stephens. “He was a better medic than me…it’s the greatest compliment in the world when those who come behind us are better than us.” Stube paused, then went on about how it made him realize that everyone should be treated with humanity and respect.

Even though Stube had doubted him in the past, Stephens had become a great soldier and medic that saved Stube’s life. Stube went on to say that part of being a leader is about teaching and helping others how to be better than you, even if you don’t like them, and that he regretted not doing this for Stephens when he had first met him.

After being taken to the hospital, Stube had many months ahead to recover, and much of that involved having to accept help from others. After spending so many years in service of his country and fellow soldiers, Stube said his time in the hospital humbled him and made him realize that service went beyond just military service. Service came in the form of an individual doing things selflessly for others, regardless of profession.

In closing, it was revealed that Stephens had been killed in action in Afghanistan, and Stube, hadn’t spoken to Stephens since his recovery time in the hospital. Stube explained that life just sped up so much, and despite having Stephens’ phone number on his computer screen, he just kept pushing back the call. He asked students to make sure, to learn from his experience, that you should always tell those you love that you love them, and that it’s always worth it to make the call.

Stube overcame incredible odds to realize the true meaning of service, and be able to share his story with the City College campus. At the end of the talk he also gave out hugs to everyone needing or wanting one.