Vietnam Veteran Helps Soldiers

By: Josh Earl
By: Josh Earl

Dave Roever was badly burned and nearly lost his life in Vietnam. Since then he has travelled around the world speaking to soldiers and high-schoolers about his experience, and now he's preparing to do much more.

At first glance it's easy to see his scars.

"It's all over my body, my hands, my face."

A phosphorus grenade, burning at 5,000 degrees exploded only six inches from Roever's right ear. "It just stripped my face off, ripped my chest open, I could see my heart beating, my back was on fire." But realy fear didn't enter in to Roever until he was brought home to a burn unit in the United States. The man in the bed next to him was reunited with his wife, and instantly rejected.

"She walked in and took off her wedding ring and threw it on the bed and said 'you're embarrassing.' She turned around and walked out."

Then Roever waited for his wife to show up. "I apologized to her, I said i'm sorry I can't look good for you anymore. She said, 'you never were good looking any how.'"

SInce then Roever has been travelling the world sharing his story, but is now turning his concentration to a new project. He's building a ranch near Westcliffe, Colorado that will be a place of emotional healing for soldiers injured in war.

"We're not bringing them home like they brought us home. I'm not gonna do that to these boys. I'm bringing them home with dignity and giving them a shot at life."

The ranch is being built entirely from contributions, and it's services will be free to soldiers. By September of next year, the ranch will be accredited making it able for soldiers to earn college credit.

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