Scars & Stripes: Vietnam veteran spreads inspirational message to Oakwood student


OAKWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) — A Vietnam veteran burned beyond recognition fighting for our country is making it his mission to tell his story of survival and inspire others.

Dave Roever was at Oakwood High School Thursday speaking to an auditorium full of students.

“Never let a good scar go to waste,” Roever told the crowd.

His story tugged at heartstrings as he recounted the day he left his wife for the war.

“She said are you coming back? That’s when I made that promise I couldn’t keep. I said ‘I’ll be back without a scar.'”

That promise came back to haunt him. On July 26, 1969, a grenade accidentally exploded in his hand, burning much of his body. He spent the next year and two months hospitalized, and to this day, he continues to undergo surgery.

“Since January, I’ve had five surgeries to rebuild my face. This is my first year with a nose,” said Roever.

“I was looking around and there were people just wiping away tears,” described Oakwood High School Senior Emily Worley.

Roever admits there were times he thought of taking his own life, but he shared a message of hope.

“I’m here to tell you today suicide is not the solution,” stressed Roever.

“He just has a great outlook on life,” noted Worley.

His motivation is knowing he’s making a difference.

“It’s the instant reward,” Roever admitted. “Some of them walk out with the look on their face that say I got through to that kid.”

For information on the Roever Foundation and a schedule of his speaking events, click here.

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