In 2010, Sergeant Craig Grossi was an intelligence collector assigned to Marine RECON—the most elite fighters in the Corps—in a remote part of Afghanistan. While on patrol, he spotted a young dog "with a big goofy head and little legs" who didn’t seem vicious or run in a pack like most strays they’d encountered. After eating a piece of beef jerky Grossi offered—against military regulations—the dog began to follow him. "Looks like you made a friend," another Marine yelled. Grossi heard, "Looks like a 'Fred.'" The name stuck, and a beautiful, life-changing friendship was forged. Grossi’s uplifting and unforgettable memoir Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other (William Morrow) published in 2017.
From the moment they met, Grossi and Fred were inseparable; whether out on missions or back at the base, Fred went along. When the time came for Grossi to leave Afghanistan, he knew that Fred had to leave with him no matter what. And as Grossi tried to get acclimated to civilian life, Fred was there for him. Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other is a poignant and inspiring tale of hope, resilience, and optimism. A young reader’s edition of their story is also available.
Today, Grossi and Fred are touching lives nationwide, from a swampy campground in a Louisiana State Park to the streets of Portland, Oregon, and everywhere in between, spreading the message of stubborn positivity. Through heartwarming, powerful presentations Grossi is perfect for audiences of all sizes, including schools and universities, advocacy groups, outreach programs, veterans associations, non-profit organizations and corporations. Grossi is proof of what is possible when we understand it is not what happens to you but how you react that matters.
Grossi is an eight-year Marine Corps veteran, and a recipient of the Purple Heart. After returning from Afghanistan, Grossi attended Georgetown University. When he is not travelling with Fred, Grossi works intensively with veteran organizations, including the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program and the Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS). He and Fred live in Maine.
Praise for Craig Grossi:
"Sgt. Grossi was a pleasure to work with and our audience walked away with a renewed sense of positivity thanks to Craig and Fred!"
-- Jay Pelham, Civilian Welfare Fund (CWF)
"Craig Grossi's presentation at our school was one that we will be feeling the effects of for years to come. His book brought together everyone in our community--from sixth graders to silver-haired seniors, veterans and so many in between. Watching Fred play around as he shared his story with us, meeting him in real life, and seeing the genuine person Craig is was incredible!"
--Jacqui Davison, C.A.R.E.S
"Craig was an excellent, engaging speaker who really connected with the young audience - everyone who attended the event loved his presentation.”
--Fall for the Book Festival
"Craig and Fred are rock stars! They spoke with over 1500 middle school students yesterday about the power of being positive in tough situations. You could hear a pin drop in the auditoriums; the kids were hanging on his every word. Craig was engaging, authentic and funny and Fred was adorable. Craig & Fred have impacted the lives of countless students and adults in our community by sharing their story. We are so thankful for the opportunity to host them and hope to have them back again soon."
--Melissa Rizer, Grosse Pointe Public Library
"In my forty plus years of hosting and attending library programs (including many fabulous concerts), Craig and Fred were one of my favorite programs ever! Craig really is extraordinary - smart, funny, warm, modest, kind, thoughtful and a natural speaker. People LOVED him and his message - I don't think I have ever had so many people thank me for arranging a program or tell me how much the program meant to them. Honestly, it was a remarkable experience."
--Deborah Rutter, Cheshire Public Library
"We had a spectacular visit and people are still thanking me for hosting Craig and Fred!
--Gail Thompson-Allen, Russell Public Library
"Our events with Craig & Nora & Fred & Ruby were awesome! The kids (and adults) were thrilled and enthusiastic and the signing was crazy-good. Our event room was mobbed with people, and it was standing room only in the back. It was so heartwarming to see how many people were touched by their story. It really was a special day for everyone involved!"
--Susan Kehoe, Browesabout Books
"We so enjoyed having Craig and Fred speak at our event! We had an audience of over 500 people and had such a phenomenal response. From the mayor, to other leaders in our community, everyone LOVED Craig and Fred!! Their message of "stubborn positivity" impacted the hearts of so many people. In all my life, I have never heard such great feedback from an event like this, and that is due to Craig and Fred's amazing story. We had a dozen people who drove more than three hours to hear this story. Craig's honesty about his experiences was so genuine, and we loved the whole 'pack' of Craig, Nora, Fred, and Ruby."
--Elizabeth Glass, Micah's Promise, Columbus, Ga