Dave Roever

Dave Roever

South Texas. The last thing on his mind was going to war. At the height of the Vietnam War, he received his draft notice. Having no desire to serve in the infantry, he joined the Navy and served as a river boat gunner in the elite Brown Water Black Beret in Vietnam.

Eight months into his tour of duty in Vietnam, Dave was burned beyond recognition when a phosphorous grenade he was poised to throw exploded in his hand. The ordeal left him hospitalized for fourteen months, where he underwent numerous major surgeries. His survival and life are miraculous.

Today, with his humorous style, Dave Roever is enthusiastically received both nationally and internationally as a public speaker. He is a gifted communicator and speaks in a variety of settings including public schools, military installations, business, men' s and youth conventions, etc. Dave is a frequent guest on national television talk shows. He established compassionate, ongoing missions work in Vietnam and is involved in other nations.

In every setting, Dave's message is one of hope. Using his life as an example, he addresses issues relevant to his audience and presents concrete solutions to life' s problems. Often drawing upon his war experiences of loneliness, peer pressure, disfigurement and pain, as well as life' s triumphs, Dave weaves a message of courage, commitment and survival that touches and transforms those who hear him. The foundation of his hope is his faith, supported by the wholesome relationships with his parents, wife, children and grandchildren.

Thirty-four years after his injuries, the Department of the Navy corrected its oversight by awarding Dave his Purple Heart, along with several other service medals. Because of his war-time experience of service, injury and recovery, he is uniquely qualified to speak to the needs of military personnel. He is called upon regularly to address troops on domestic military bases as well as those deployed in Iraq and other locations around the globe.

In May 2005, Dave was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in recognition of his remarkable life and service.

Dave Roever is founder, chairman, and president of two non-profit corporations: Roever Evangelistic Association (REA) and Roever Educational Assistance Programs (REAP) based in Fort Worth, Texas. Dave and his wife, Brenda, are co-founders of Eagles Summit Ranch near Westcliffe, Colorado, where Dave, Brenda, and team train wounded warriors, others from the U.S. military, and talented young leaders in areas of specific focus such as public speaking, and marital and emotional recovery after devastating injury, helping them to fulfill their destinies. Development of the second Eagles Summit Ranch - Texas, has begun, near San Antonio, Texas.


Dave has a wife, Brenda, two children and four grand children.


1968 - 1971 U.S. Navy, Special Warfare Division, with a tour of duty in Vietnam; injured in Vietnam in July 1969


Purple Heart Medal

Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon

National Defense Service Medal

Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars

Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation

(Gallantry Cross Medal Color with Palm)

Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation

(Civil Actions Medal, First Class Color with Palm)

Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 device

"Woody" Wilson

Mr. “Woody” Wilson

What an honor! Today, Mr. “Woody” Wilson received his Lifechest, where he is placing memorabilia from his years of his life and service. What are you putting in your Lifechest? This is an amazing Marine: Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams (born October 2, 1923) is a retired United States Marine Corps warrant officer and United States Department of Veterans Affairs veterans service representative who received the United States military's highest decoration for valor—the Medal of Honor—for heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. He and three soldiers are the only living Medal of Honor recipients from that war. In addition, he is the only surviving Marine to have received the Medal of Honor during the Second World War, and is the only surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Pacific theater of the war. We salute you, sir!

Woody Wilson and his Life Chest™

Combat Injured Troops: We Salute You!

Combat Injured Troops Logo

COMBAT INJURED TROOPS was formed to support our military veterans and their families through our Therapy in the Air program that makes you smile! With now three programs to assist Veterans, Combat Injured Troops goal is to be able to help military men and women including their families. There are no paid salaries in the COMBAT INJURED TROOPS organization and they are an approved 501(c) Charity. 

Therapy in the Air

The All Veteran Group (AVG) through Therapy in the Air, in support of Combat Injured Troops, helps warriors thrive through post-traumatic growth (PTG).  PTG refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances.  Therapy in the Air offers an unparalleled sense of freedom mingled with excitement unlike that of any other sport.  

Hometown Heroes

Our Hometown Heroes Program is designed to showcase someone from the community who has sacrificed time and effort to better his or her community. A local hero may include but not be limited to: an average citizen who saved a life, a renowned teacher, a community humanitarian, a firefighter, a paramedic or police officer.  This program is not an award but a way to say thanks to Americans who have done great things. 

22 a Day

The 22-A-Day project is an awareness program that exposes the little known fact that 22 Veterans a day commit suicide.  This is a staggering number that is often overlooked.  Our military serve and protect all of us and deserve our deepest appreciation, respect and care.  By educating the public, the 22-A-Day project hopes to inspire more people to get involved and work together by joining our resources to eradicate this problem.

The Life Chest supports Combat Injured Troops and the All Veteran Group and is proud to work closely with CIT board member and AVG Founder and CEO Mike Elliot.

Watch Mike Elliot's Freedom Life Chest Testimonial:


Grandpa Willie the Navy Man

Last week we proudly co-hosted an event with Louis Vuitton and had the pleasure of hearing singer and song write Ajia perform with her incredible band. (See the previous post for more on this amazing event.)

Here is a Life Chest story about Ajia's gramps.

Grandpa Willie the Navy man. First, he was great friends with Lou Rawls they golfed together all the time. He was also the first black detective SanBernardino and when a rookie white cop was promoted over my grandfather even though he had everything in place tenure etc to be promoted he sued the department and won. That was unheard of especially back in those days. He was the SanBernardino Chapter President of the NAACP as well as a high-ranking Mason. He although never smoked or hardly drank outside of a few beers passed from cancer many years ago.

James Megellas

James Megellas with Mike Elliot, Founder of AVG All Veteran Group

James Megellas with Mike Elliot, Founder of AVG All Veteran Group

James Megellas, born March 11, 1917, is a retired U.S. Army officer who commanded a platoon in Company H of the 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. He is "the most decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division," having received a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star and a nomination for the Medal of Honor. Megellas was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and attended nearby Ripon College. He participated in the school's Reserve Officers' Training Corps program and, upon graduation in May 1942, received a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

He first experienced combat in the mountains outside Naples, Italy, where he was wounded and hospitalized. In October 1943, while the remainder of the 82nd Airborne departed Italy to recoup before the invasion of Normandy, the 504th PIR remained behind and took part in Operation Shingle. On Jan. 22, 1944, the 504th took part in an amphibious assault at Anzio. The fighting took a heavy toll with Megellas being wounded again. Due to the losses at Anzio, the 504th did not participate in the D-Day Normandy landings, but they did parachute into the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden.

Megellas took part in the crossing of the Waal River near Nijmegen, where American forces crossed the river in flimsy boats while under heavy machine gun fire. He single-handedly attacked a German observation post and machine gun nest during the engagement. For these actions, he was awarded the U.S. military's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, and, in December 1944, the regiment was rushed into the Battle of the Bulge.

On Jan. 28, 1945, Megellas' platoon was advancing toward Heresiarch, Belgium. Struggling through heavy snow and freezing cold, they surprised 200 Germans who were advancing out of the town. Catching the Germans largely off guard, the attack proved to be devastating, with the Americans killing or capturing a large number and causing many others to flee. As they prepared to assault the town, a German Mark V tank took aim at them. Megellas ran toward it and disabled it with a single grenade. Climbing on top of the tank, he dropped another grenade into the tank, eliminating the threat to his men. He then led his men as they cleared and seized the town with no casualties to his team. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor, but the account of his actions was not included in the original battle reports, and he was instead awarded the Silver Star.

Throughout the war, Megellas served with Company H, 504th PIR, which he would later command. In January 1946, he led his company down Fifth Avenue in New York City in the Victory Parade. He left the active Army service that year with the rank of Captain and served an additional 16 years in the Army Reserve. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and wrote a memoir of his wartime experiences entitled “All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe.” Megellas and his wife currently live in Colleyville, Texas. Maggie was nominated for the Medal of Honor seventy years ago, it was reviewed by the Senate on 01/30/2017 and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

Vietnam Veterans of America host Operations Christmas event

Freedom Military Life Chest Donation to Veterans

Remember our new Life Chest Lifer Claude Wood? Well, The Life Chest and Claude’s story had the privilege of being featured in local newspaper The Macomb Daily by Linda May!

Read the full article here!

“Freedom Military Life Chests –- repositories for treasured memorabilia –- were recently presented to 55 veterans from the Tri-County area. They received them the day before Veterans Day at the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9 building in Detroit.

The Life Chest company of Troy put on the program and donated the chests.

“Veterans were selected based upon their service both during and after their military time,” Mike Sand, of Fraser, said.

Macomb County vets who received chests included Al Opra, Laura Rios, Jerry Van de Vyver, Dave Trevino, Phil Gannia, Paul Palazzolo, Steven Mrozek, Tara Perez, Keith Edwards, Joe Rheker, Steven Gerebics, Robert Slavko and Therese Wrobel.

Sand received one, as did George Sheppard III.

On Veterans Day, Sheppard gave his chest to Claude Wood who is the Fraser-Reid Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6691 charter commander. Wood celebrated his 97th birthday on that day. Sheppard’s father was also a charter member of the post in 1946.

“George gifted his chest to a special friend and fellow veteran, Claude Wood. Claude is a 97-year-old World War II veteran and a 1946 charter member of the Fraser VFW Post 6691. George’s father, George Sheppard Jr., was also a charter member. Claude and George III have both dedicated their lives to supporting our military and veterans. At a surprise birthday recognition and celebration, George presented his special gift to Claude. A very emotional moment indeed,” Sand said.

The chests have pewter emblems representing each branch of the armed forces and the Great Seal of the United States.

“This is definitely a family heirloom to be passed from generation to generation, one of the finest holiday presents anyone could ask for. We cannot thank The Life Chest company enough for such a gift,” Sand said. “It was a very nice gesture on their part and I kind of look at the chest as a cross between a footlocker and a hope chest. I have put some very special things in mine such as the pen Governor Engler used to lend the State of Michigan’s support to the Michigan Vietnam Memorial Monument.

Sand’s chest contains a U.S. flag displayed by four Detroit mayors, an autographed book depicting Vietnam memorials in all 50 states, keepsakes from his parents, challenge coins, military patches, audio tapes, DVDs, and books related to Sand’s Vietnam War experiences.

“It’s sort of my personal time capsule,” he said.”


Thank you to Linda May for the great article!

Mike Elliott Shares The Contents of His Life Chest

To look inside Mike Elliott’s Life Chest is to travel through time and see each of his accomplishments, experiences and moments of inspiration. Through the carefully selected items he has placed inside of his Freedom Chest you are able learn so much about his life and of his passion to make a difference. Mike’s story is incredibly deep and touching, he is an American Hero and we are honored to know him.

Please watch this video to learn more about Mike and Visit the All Veteran Group on their website or Facebook Page.

Thank you Mike Elliott, Founder and President of the All Veteran Group, for not only sharing your memories and mementos but for also inspiring us to create meaningful Life Chest Moments of our own.

As Mike always says..

Blue Skies!

The All Veteran Veteran Group is a unique collection of highly experienced parachutists who represent the essence of what it means to be an American: patriotism, creativity, initiative, professionalism and dedication to excellence.

Harris Rosen: A Legacy And A Birthday Jump With AVG

For his birthday Mr. Harris Rosen did the jump with Mike Elliot and his AVG team.

Rosen was born in 1939 in Manhattan. He attended Cornell University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from their School of Hotel Administration. He then served in the United States Army for three years in Germany and South Korea.

In 2002, Rosen donated a 20-acre (0.081 km2) site and $25 million to the University of Central Florida to develop the Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

His efforts extend far beyond UCF, including large involvement in Tangelo Park. These efforts include scholarships for members of the community who are accepted to vocational school, college or university in the state of Florida, and an alternative spring break for Cornell students who wish to spend their vacation mentoring students from Tangelo Park.

Please Visit these links for more information and to donate to the Tangelo Park Program:

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