Wells says Vietnam veteran Roever has 'the most beautiful face I have ever seen'

By Greg Miller

STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com
  

  
Good Samaritan Ministries Director Sarah Wells says she is very impressed with the caliber of Dave Roever, who will speak at a dinner meeting at East Tennessee State University's D.P. Culp Center on Monday, Nov. 4, from 6-8 p.m.
   "I've known Dave for many years," Wells remarked. "I think he's one of the most real people I've ever met. When I met him after he first came back from Vietnam, the scars were very bad at that time. I look at him now, and I see how beautiful he is to me."
   God gave Roever "a second chance" at life, according to Wells. "You can imagine being put in a body bag alive and not being able to get out," she said. "I'm sure that he did a lot of praying in there. When he came out, the greatest thing for me is to see what he has done with it in helping others to heal and to not be ashamed of who they are or of the scars they have carried since that time. To say 'Welcome home, Davey' to his face was the greatest privilege I've ever had, to see the tears flow down his face, the joy. I have felt joy from that man from the very beginning. He loves the Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart. That is a true impression."
   Wells sees Roever's face as "the most beautiful face that I have ever seen. Yes, there are scars there, but you know, I don't see them anymore. When I look at him, I don't see the scars. Someone said that it would be hard to look at those scars. No, it's not. It's beautiful. That's his badge of courage. He says, 'Yes, this is part of who I am, but it isn't who I am. I am a son of God.' He is taking that and making beauty from those ashes. And I think that makes it the most beautiful face I've ever laid eyes on. When I look at his face, I see such smoothness. I see that no matter how bad the journey is that we take in life, God can make it all smooth and beautiful."
   Roever's faith is just as beautiful as his face, according to Wells. "Since I have been acquainted with Dave with over 25 years, I have watched him in ministry. I have watched him grow and watched the ministry grow. Never have I seen a wavering in his attitude of faith, his family relationships. He has been a true and faithful man of God, a wonderful pastor."
   An Assemblies of God minister, Roever has served both as a pastor and as an evangelist. "He's on talk shows continually, telling the very same story, and that is Jesus Christ saves and brings you forth out of every darkness and that you can overcome anything if you really try and hang on to Jesus for dear life."
   Each year, Roever escorts 10 Vietnam veterans back to the country where they fought. Participants, "are able to work with children in schools, medical clinics, and a cardiac care unit that he helped to establish. I think it's a great thing for our veterans to be able to travel back and see, not just devastation, but to see hope for the future."
   After coming back to the United States, the veterans commit to support a ministry back in Vietnam. After a year, they make a return trip to Vietnam. The Roever ministry also provides money for missionaries, medical equipment and school supplies, Wells said.
   In the United States, Roever "focuses on going into schools, teaching children that they can overcome, have good self esteem, to be able to say no to the drugs and the alcohol..."
   The son of a Texas preacher, Roever planned to become a preacher himself. But when drafted during the Vietnam War, he joined the Navy and found himself serving as a river boat gunner in the elite Brown Water Black Berets. He was badly burned when a phosphorous grenade exploded in his hand. He emerged from the hospital after 14 months and 15 major surgeries.
   Good Samaritan Ministries and Manna House are presenting the Roever program in honor of area veterans. The reception will be from 5:15-6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $150 per eight-person table, or $25 each.
   The proceeds from the event will benefit the operations both Manna House and Good Samaritan Ministries.
   "Manna House is a nonprofit agency that helps veterans to have a place to live and to learn to live again," Wells said. "These are normally homeless veterans that are recovering. There is a nurse on site, and they do have programs, which are still developing, and I hope to see even greater.
   "This gives them transitional housing, gives them a chance to come into a home atmosphere, to have someone walk with them and mentor them. For up to two years, they don't have to try to make it by themselves," Wells added. "They can grow in that faith and that understanding and wisdom in how to live."
   Manna House also works to strengthen family ties and provide job opportunities for the veterans.
   Good Samaritan Ministries is a support service for its clients, according to Wells. "That means we provide the first month's rent or more rent, if needed, during that time," she said. "We help them to locate jobs. We also help them with their needs of food, clothing and friendship."
   Shuttle buses will be provided from ETSU parking lots. Cost for the event, for which Kathy Wampler will provide special music, is $150 per table of eight people or $25 per seat.
   For more information, or to purchase tickets for the dinner and program, call 928-2798 or 928-0288 or e-mail sarah@goodsamaritanministries.com.