My friend ‘Butch’ Griggs

"Butch" Griggs, left, and Russell Sanders.

“Butch” Griggs, left, and Russell Sanders.

By Russell Sanders

I give praise, honor and glory to God for the outcome of this story. I met Charles Stanley “Butch” Woods Griggs when I was fairly young, maybe around the age of 2 or 3. Butch, his brother Shoster and family attended the same church as my family. Shoster and I were best friends all through elementary school, junior high and high school. So that meant I was around Butch practically all the time.

Charles Stanley was a grade ahead of us, so there was that age-respect thing that happens in the neighborhood hierarchy. But it was on the school playground at Bonneville Elementary where I first saw his athletic prowess during games at recess. The natural ease of movements that Butch possessed, along with his strength, speed and quickness, made it obvious he had it from a young age. This made him a formidable opponent and a well sought-after and valued teammate in just about any team sport, plus track, you could think of.

Back then, I was a Fourth Avenue kid where we played in Olympic Park where epic water fights took place with the park’s and neighborhood house’s hoses. However, any young black male resident of what is now referred to as the Triangle was compelled to make the trek to congregate at Optimist or Tydeman baseball fields at one time or another. That’s where a person could view all the Triangle talent on full display mostly on Sunday afternoons after church. Moreover, the two fields showcased Pocatello’s historic Little League baseball talent representing several neighborhoods in the city as well. But this is where Butch established his ability to hit home runs all to the chagrin of a rental business with a plate glass window that was smack dab in the middle of Kenny Monroe and Charles Stanley’s power alley. Let’s just say the two batters were frequent offenders in aiding the sound of glass shattering on East Sherman Street during a little league baseball game. Butch hit the first homerun out of the new Hallowell Park in an American Legion game.

During our friendship I’ve witnessed Butch run a 220-yard dash in record time in junior high where he had someone catch him at the finish line so he wouldn’t hurt himself. In Butch’s sophomore year at Poky, I saw him chase down and catch one of the fastest football running backs in the state playing for Borah High in Boise. I was in the Idaho State University gymnasium on a March afternoon when Butch, a guard, sparked a come-from-behind victory over the Capital Eagles of Boise during the second half of a game in the 1969 Idaho high school state basketball semifinals. Capital had no one to guard him! That Pocatello High School basketball team went on to win the state tournament against a Minico team. We were teammates on the 1970 Pocatello basketball team his senior year.

e were teammates on the Harlem Club softball team where we had some great times going to out-of-town tournaments, and now we work in the same kid’s basketball program for the city of Pocatello.

ast year, Butch and I had a conversation about a sciatic nerve injury that we both had experienced. I know the medication for the pain can become a problem so when he told me that it made him “loopy” I understood. The condition and the medication forced his resignation from his job and an uncertain future. Depression and some not-so-good decisions created a crisis that found my friend in the hospital not once but twice. When he asked for my help, I went to the social media and asked my friends and schoolmates for their assistance for my best friend’s brother.

Back in June of this year “The Charlie’s Angels” came together to help out a person that is more like a brother than a friend, and I think that is why he calls me his partner and I affirm that wholeheartedly.

Under the leadership of Debbie Green, Richard Whitehead, Roger Chase, Debra Harris, Bill Hess, Jim Jacobson Suzanne Johnson, Don Zebe and myself, we crafted a plan to help Butch. I want to thank the Pocatello community for your awesome response to a citizen in need. Our success has allowed my partner to regain his life with a chance at a more secure future. May God bless you all.

This was written Aug. 6, 2014

To: All

From: Mr. Charles Stanley Woods Butch Griggs aka Mr. Grigz

Thank you, for your Love, Support, Friendship, Concern and Contributions. Makes it possible for me to keep on truck-in, positively towards my future.

Live + Learn + Love (n) + Peace + Harmony

My Late Aunt Clara + Uncle Buddy now have their (our) home in good shape. Charles F. “Buddy” and Clara Woods, adopted me when I was at Franklin Jr. High going into the 8th grade…

Listen, Learn, Live and Love…

Shukrani Sahibu (Thank you friends in Swahili)

Peace/Love/ Soul Power…


Mr. Grigz

Russell Sanders is a Pocatello resident who worked in radio for 20 years.