07 December 2017

Col. Scott Halter, U.S. Army Garrison commander presents Roever with a token of appreciation at the conclusion of the event.

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Heroism and Inspiration: Dave Roever Shares His Story of Tragedy to Triumph with Fort Detrick Community
Jenni Benson, USAG Public Affairs
Members of the Fort Detrick community had the pleasure of hearing the inspiring life story a Purple Heart recipient on Nov. 3 in a special event sponsored by the Fort Detrick Chapel.

Roever, a military hero, was burned beyond recognition when a white phosphorus grenade exploded in his hand during combat. His triumphs over what could have been a life ending tragedy has turned into his life's work as he travels around the world sharing his story with humor and transparency as he helps others overcome their own circumstances.

After 55 surgeries, Roever has overcome great odds in his ongoing road to recovery.

He shared touching moments from his journey and encouraged those in attendance to never give up on themselves.

"These scars and stripes have served me well over the years, my little motto is, ‘never let a good scar go to waste'" shared Roever. "So when something happens negative in your life, turn around and make a positive out of it. Being resilient, you never settle, you never compromise, you never work out a deal, you manage your life to the point that when anything happens you find in it a fundamental core value that you can build on."

Roever spoke about his family and how they supported him through extremely tough times.

He went on in detail about that day when the grenade went off in his hand, right beside his face and in the moments following how he was sure his life was coming to an end.

"In that second, my life changed forever," said Roever.

The road to recovery from burns on most of his body has been a long and painful one but through tragedy and pain he continues to forge ahead giving hope to people all over the world, speaking to wounded warriors, military members, schools, corporations and church groups with the goal of restoring the wounded.

Three major lessons were echoed throughout his time with Detrick. One was to never give up hope, the second was to learn to laugh, "it's contagious and good for the soul," and three was that when things happen that hurt, make something good out of something bad or difficult.

"You can find something good in every situation. As horrible as it may be, find something good," said Roever.

Speaking about his calling to share his story whenever and wherever possible, "I was made for this," said Roever. "Every one of these scars have a purpose, these warriors know that I know how they feel. So the best thing that ever happened to me happened on July 26, 1969, and today as I talk to these young warriors they listen. Resiliency isn't something you learn from a book, it's something you learn from life and then you pass it on."

In his closing, he left the audience with one profound thought that summed up his life. "I'm Dave Roever, and I'm not ashamed of my scars and stripes."
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