Veteran Speaker Entertains, Inspires Members At Balad
(February 7, 2011)
Veteran, author and inspirational speaker Dave Roever speaks about resiliency Feb. 2, 2011, at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. More than150 service members attended the chaplain-sponsored event.
BALAD, Iraq (2/4/2011 - AFNS) -- Veteran, author and
inspirational speaker Dave Roever knows a thing or
two about scars.
"Everybody has scars," he
told a group of more than 150 people here in an
event sponsored by the base chaplains. "Mine just
happen to be on the outside.
hurt," he said. "That's not the question. The
question is how (does one) react to getting hurt?"
Mr. Roever's scars stem from a 1969 Vietnam tour
As a Navy "Brown Water Black
Beret," a sniper's bullet pierced a white phosphorus
grenade in his hand. The subsequent explosion, and
intense heat, nearly eviscerated him. After his
eventual medical evacuation to Japan, he was not
expected to survive long.
Fourteen months and
countless surgeries later, Mr. Roever did survive --
and eventually thrive. Where many would have been
consumed by bitterness, Mr. Roever found gratitude
in just being alive, and eventually, making a
difference to others.
"I don't intend to go
out quietly," the 64-year old said. "I want to make
a difference in people's lives."
To that end, Mr. Roever is the founder of two non-profit
organizations. In addition, in 2007, with his wife Brenda,
he co-founded Eagles Summit Ranch in Colorado, which focuses
on helping wounded veterans from the war on terrorism, both
spiritually and by teaching business and life skills.|
"It's a beautiful facility up in the mountains," he
said. "We're teaching them how to start a business or a
(non-profit venture) ... and help(ing) them with the
emotional part of recovery."
To hear Mr. Roever speak
-- and many in the audience had been to a number of his
talks through the years -- is to follow a winding path of
emotionally wrenching but seemingly unrelated stories.
Eventually, the listener finds that the stories interlock to
focus on the theme of resiliency.
The stories he
shared included a time in Iraq when he was asked to say a
prayer for a fallen Soldier, asking specifically for God to
send someone to comfort the Soldier's best friend.
few days later, in the middle of the night at an empty
Atlanta airport terminal, a young man sat down next to him,
even though there were hundreds of empty seats nearby.
Mr. Roever eventually learned that the man was the best
friend of the fallen Soldier, an event Mr. Roever said was
The young man, who was returning
from his friend's funeral, couldn't understand how Mr.
Roever knew so much about the situation.
'Who are you?'" Mr. Roever recalled. "And I told him, 'I'm
the answer to my own prayer.'"
Mr. Roever also shared
another Iraq story where he was led into the hospital room
of a dying Soldier who had third-degree burns over most of
"I couldn't have told you what color he
was," Mr. Roever said. "There is no prejudice in a sacrifice
Mr. Roever whispered a few words in the
hole where the dying man's ear had been just hours before,
and then held him as he took his last breath.
him that this wasn't a gurney, it was an altar," he
recounted. "And that he wasn't just a Soldier; he was a
"I prayed to God that if all the pain I've
been through, and it was incredible pain I assure you,
allowed me to be there in that moment for that young
Soldier, then God bring it on," he said.
urged the audience to ensure their marriages were strong and
to communicate regularly with their loved ones back home.
He also praised his wife of 43 years, for standing by
him and caring for him after his horrendous injuries.
"Our marriage (endures) because it is built on desire,
not need," he said. "We don't need each other; we want each
other. It is a choice."
Article and photo by USAF Maj. Brian Bowman|
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Air Force News
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