By Jim Predmore
There was a men’s banquet held at the First Southern Baptist Church in Imperial this past Saturday. The banquet was put together by the church and Pastor Jeff Moody.A delicious dinner was served that included what the pastor (who is from Tennessee) described as chicken fried chicken and taters with Tennessee sweet tea. Pastor Moody told everybody that they were in for a treat with the motivational speaker Dave Roever. He spoke of what an inspiration Mr. Roever would be to all in attendance. Pastor Moody had been trying to get Dave Roever to the Imperial Valley for over four years and his persistence paid off.
Dave Roeve,r with his humorous style, is enthusiastically received both nationally and internationally as a public speaker. He is a gifted communicator and speaks in a variety of settings including public schools, military installations, business, men’s and youth conventions, etc. Dave is a frequent guest on national television talk shows. He established compassionate, ongoing missions work in Vietnam and is involved in other nations.
Dave Roever grew up in a loving, committed family in South Texas. The last thing on his mind was going to war. At the height of the Vietnam War, he received his draft notice. Having no desire to serve in the infantry, he joined the Navy and served as a river boat gunner in the elite Brown Water Black Beret in Vietnam.
Eight months into his tour of duty in Vietnam, Dave was burned beyond recognition when a phosphorous grenade he was poised to throw exploded in his hand. The ordeal left him hospitalized for fourteen months, where he underwent numerous major surgeries. His survival and life are miraculous.
Dave was introduced and described his injuries of being severely burned, as well as losing one eye, ear and nostril. He spoke of how people get mad at God over things that have happened to them and said that he is not mad at God. ” God did not do this to me. He saved me.” Roever then went on to describe what had happened to him; how his life changed in a split second. Dave recounted how he received his draft notice. Being a young man that was newly married, he decided that he didn’t want to go into the infantry and so he joined the Navy. He explained that during boot camp the drill sergeant had asked the recruits about their education. Dave was the only one that had any college education. ( Dave had just started college when he was drafted.) The drill sergeant told him that he was a leader, which took Dave to being a gunner on the Brown Water Black Beret River Boats. Dave went on to describe what had happened on that fateful day that changed his life. ”We reached the spot where intelligence directed us, our team. A Navy special forces unit was about to scout the scene of previous action to determine enemy strength. I threw a phosphorous grenade to clear the dense brush and burn out booby traps, then there was movement in the enemy bunker. I got another grenade, pulled the pin and raised my arm to throw and the grenade exploded, blowing me into the water. Phosphorous burns at 5000̊ and under water. I saw my skin floating in the water. (humorously stating) I was beside myself, thinking ‘I’ve got to pull my self together.’ A rescue helicopter had landed. My team grabbed me, thinking that I was kille,d and threw me onto a stretcher. I caught the stretcher on fire and fell through. I didn’t know if I was dead or alive until I saw blood squirting from my heart and then the same thing that was killing me started saving me. A piece of phosphorous cauterized the artery to stop the bleeding. After that, my throat starting swelling and I could not breath. Another piece of phosphorous burned a hole in my neck right under my vocal chord and I was able to breath. They got me onto the copter and the medic was filling out my Killed in Action report. You know, when you are in the armed forces, they place a syringe in your pack that is filled with morphine. All you have to do is break off the end and stab it into your leg. I got up enough strength to say ‘medic’. When I did, the medic was so startled that he took out a syringe and stabbed it into his own leg.”
Dave was taken to a hospital in Japan and then transferred to California where he stayed for 14 months. He talked of the pain and how he had buried his face in a pillow to scream only to have his face stick to the pillow when he lifted his head. After that, he made no efforts to muffle his screams.
Dave has an extreme love for this country and for God. He is proud to have served this country and continues to do so, frequently shipping off to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of our troops. He fells that once you have suffered for something you love, you love it even more. He is thankful to all that have served.
Dave recounted a time that he had landed in Bagdad and as he looked out the window, he saw a procession accruing on the ramp of a C-130 for a fallen soldier. He made his way over to give his thanks and was asked to give a prayer. He prayed for the Mother and Father the family and friends and asking specifically for God to send someone to comfort the Soldier’s best friend. He went on to explain that for they next week he was constantly on the go only having time to rest only on flights and was exhausted when made his trip home. He ended up with a stay over in Atlanta, tired and grumpy he made his way to a disserted part of the airport to sit alone. When this tall large man came and sat down next to him, even though there were hundreds of empty seats nearby. He didn’t want him to sit there at the time and thought to himself a four letter word and then said it “DUDE”. The man asked if he was in the military and Dave explained what he does. Then Dave asked him where he was coming from and he said that he was returning from a funeral of his best friend that was killed in Iraq. Mr. Roever eventually learned that the man was the best friend of the fallen Soldier, an event Mr. Roever said was divinely inspired. The young man, who was returning from his friend’s funeral, could not understand how Mr. Roever knew so much about the situation. “He asked, ‘Who are you?’” Mr. Roever recalled. “And I told him, ‘I’m the answer to my own prayer.’”
Dave went on to say that our troops are coming home from a deadly and very holy war on terror. This war has far different implications than previous wars…we are not at war with a state or nation. We are at war with a religion and its fanatics. In the minds of our enemies, eternity is at stake…and they are right.
Hundreds of our treasured defenders of freedom are left wounded and in despair. The military has requested Dave Roever’s involvement to intervene in reestablishing the hope and will of wounded warriors. Medical intervention puts them back on their feet with artificial limbs, but it cannot place them back on their feet spiritually. Many times our heroes are institutionalized with sterile walls staring them in the face. They become wards of the state when help to recover emotionally is not provided.
The military has expressed to Dave in many private meetings as well as the public forum, that the young troops returning home wounded must have emotional intervention.
We must not repeat the mistakes made in the Vietnam era by nonintervention.
In December 2004, Dave secured property in the beautiful Wet Mountains facing the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado to build a training center for military leaders and those who have been seriously wounded in the war on terror and in need of emotional reconstruction. His goal is to train these young heroes to turn their tragedy to triumph and show to a hurting world the difference Christ can make in life.
“Davey is a very special man whose generous life has touched countless many.” – Ronald Reagan
“Dave Roever has had a wonderful ministry with young people and military installations in conjunction with our crusades. God has obviously given him the gift of an evangelist, and I am grateful for his ministry of sharing the Gospel.”- Billy Graham