Resiliency stressed at Nat'l Prayer Breakfast
March 11, 2014
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (March 7, 2014) -- "Being here today is a very special opportunity to recognize the influence, the direction and what authenticates freedom, and that's faith," said Dave Roever to the large gathering of Soldiers and family members who packed into the Main Post Chapel, here, in the early hours of Tuesday for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.
A Vietnam War veteran, Purple Heart recipient and guest speaker for the event, Roever is a resiliency speaker who travels the globe sharing his personal story of triumph over tragedy.
"Everybody gets hurt. I wear my scars on the outside, but most of you wear your scars on the inside," said Roever, who was serving as a riverboat gunner in the U.S. Navy's elite Brown Water Black Beret when a phosphorous grenade he was poised to throw exploded in his hand, leaving him burned beyond recognition and landing him in the hospital for 14 months.
"A scar is nothing to be ashamed of. A scar is evidence that you got hurt, and a scar is evidence that you got over it," Roever said. "And when you've suffered for America, don't you love her so much more? Sometimes it hurts; sometimes the price you pay is a lot more than what that recruiter told you.
"Oh, but what you do, and who you are, and that uniform you wear and the nation you defend, oh my gosh," he said, "it's all worth fighting for. Because if there's nothing worth dying for, there's nothing worth living for."
Roever's message left a strong impression with Soldiers in the pews, which, according to Chaplain (Col.) Robert Phillips, command chaplain, USAG-HI, is the whole purpose of the annual breakfast.
"One of the important things that the Army faces right now is the issue of resiliency, and spiritual resiliency is a big component of who we are as individuals and how we function as families and in our units," explained Phillips. "The National Prayer Breakfast is an opportunity for us to come together for just a short time for fellowship, to hear an inspirational speaker, to really focus on who we are as spiritual beings and where we are in our faiths, and it's an opportunity for us to think about how we can strengthen our spiritual resiliency."
"It just inspires me to hear the speakers, and it inspires me to continue doing my best and knowing that, for me to be able to do my best, I can help others as a leader," agreed Staff Sgt. Carlos Ramirez of Operations Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.
"I think that, despite what we go through every day, if we just endure the challenges, it allows everyone else to enjoy the freedoms that we have," Ramirez added. "(Roever's speech) encouraged me to just endure, knowing that it's for a good cause."
"If I've said nothing but these two words, I've accomplished my mission: 'Thank you,'" said Roever. "I love the people who serve our nation to keep us free, and so today, I came to say 'thank you' and to present the challenge of resiliency to the military, as they are now facing a challenge of what to do with their lives as we draw down in 2014 out of Afghanistan.
"There is so much uncertainty," Roever added, "but there is always certainty in faith, and that's what we came to do."