Lessons learned growing up in a retail family come full circle
By Andy Kriege, YSN
As commencement season gets underway around the country, anyone with a goal can take a lesson from Gregory “Shugg” Frazier.
Frazier is the son of BrandSource members Denny and Jamie Frazier, owners of Frazier’s Appliance & Refrigeration in Jesup, Ga. The younger Frazier has gone by the name “Shugg” since he was a young child, already dreaming of the day he would become a soldier. That dream has now become a reality as he winds down his first year at The United States Military Academy, more commonly known as West Point.
The values the 20-year-old’s parents instilled in him have come full circle, and Shugg is now the one who is leading by example — and demonstrating that hard work, perseverance and a deep and abiding faith in a power greater than oneself transcends all obstacles.
Be all you can be
To be accepted into the elite academy at West Point is extremely difficult, as the admission process is highly selective. Students must be at the top of their class just to apply, and they need a congressional nomination to get in. It is truly a place for the best of the best, and Shugg Frazier is now proving he belongs among their ranks.
Frazier said his son has always been a diligent worker and an overachiever. He worked at the family store during his high school years, making deliveries and scrapping out old appliances. “He would do anything we asked him to do,” Frazier said. “He was always a very hard worker and someone we could trust to get the job done without having to stand over him all day.”
Even before he started school he knew he wanted to be a soldier. His favorite song was “Arlington,” Trace Adkins’s tribute to fallen soldiers, which he sang with his dad’s band at a county July 4 celebrating. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” Frazier said.
The call to serve
Shugg calls his experience at West Point the most difficult and the most rewarding thing he has ever done.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to serve?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to serve in uniform. There was never a time I wanted to do anything else. Growing up, most kids aspired to be something like an astronaut or a doctor. I simply wanted to be a soldier.
A: What influenced your decision?
It was a love of country, faith in God and a belief in serving something bigger than myself that led me to pursue this path.
How did you set your sights on West Point?
My senior year of high school I began to sort out my lifelong dream of being a soldier. Initially I was going to just enlist, but a mentor friend told me of USMA and all the great soldiers who have come from West Point, including Grant, Pershing, Patton and Sherman.
You were rejected on your first attempt. That must have been tough.
Obviously I felt crushed, but I refused to accept defeat. Too many people give up after the first obstacle gets in their way. It is important to view failure as an opportunity for growth, not as an end to your aspirations.
So failure is not an option for you?
Instead of giving up I enrolled in the Georgia Military Academy, enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard, and then reapplied to West Point. During that year I worked very hard to improve myself physically, academically and militarily.
What was it like when you learned you were accepted?
The day I found out I was overjoyed. It reinforced my belief in the importance of hard work, determination and most important, never giving up. All the hard work paid off and made my subsequent acceptance even sweeter and more humbling.
You have set a high bar for yourself. What motivates you?
God. My family. And serving something bigger than myself.
How did your parents help you along on your journey?
My parents have always been huge supporters. They were never the type to push me into something I did not want to do. They encouraged me to follow my own path in life. That freedom allowed me to pursue my dream and to get to where I am at today.
Did growing up around the family business help shape your values and/or work ethic?
Absolutely. I believe everyone should learn the value of hard work from an early age as I did. My work at the store as a child taught me the importance of punctuality, interpersonal communication and attention to detail. Had I not grown up working in the store, I would not be where I am today.
What would you tell other young people who are struggling to find a path in life?
Do not give up. Whatever your personal dreams are, you can achieve them. Life will make you face obstacles, failures and setbacks, but keep pushing forward. Too many people settle, get lazy and give up when they should have kept their nose to the grindstone. Keep fighting and one day you too will wake up living the dream.
What do you hope to do with your career beyond the academy?
When I graduate, I hope to be an Army Aviator flying a CH-47 Chinook.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of being a man that my little brother, Davin, can look up to. I am proud of being a man who my parents, Denny and Jamie, can be proud to call their son.
YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.