Veterans of all ages were recognized and honors on Saturday, as volunteers from Crossroads Church, in conjunction with Chaplain (Col.) Chet Egert, USA, Retired, hosted a reunion.
The event included a free cookout, and keynote speaker Navy Veteran and minister Rev. Dave Roever.
Other taking part in the event included Rep. Josh West (R-Grove), himself an Army veteran, and Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Brad Hanna, who serves with the Oklahoma National Guard.
The event was designed to honor local veterans and allow those who served a chance to network amongst each other. It included a recognition of veterans from each branch.
West, one of the first speakers, kept politics out of his time at the podium. Instead he spoke mostly about his family and taking time to honor those who served.
Hanna took a few moments next to speak on his service in the Oklahoma National Guard, saying the Oklahoma National Guard deploys more troops per capita than any other state.
Roever, who grew up in south Texas, talked about his time from 1968 to 1971 in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam War.
In July 1969, Roever was seriously injured while serving in Vietnam when, while in the process of throwing a white phosphorus grenade, a sniper wounded him leaving the grenade to explode close to his head.
White Phosphorus, also known to veterans as Willie Peat, burns on contact with air and even water at temperatures reaching 5,000 degrees.
Because of the proximity of the explosion Roever was seriously and permanently disfigured despite having gone through 55 surgeries during the course of his life.
Roever’s main message to those at the reunion was one of overcoming all challenges with the help of Jesus Christ.
Roever has spent the majority of his life traveling the country and speaking to high schoolers, veterans and other groups.
He also served with Dr. Billy Graham in his ministries around the nation.
Roever’s biggest message for the night was to remind those present 22 veterans a day are lost to suicide. He said no matter what has happened in a person's life, there is also a reason to continue living.
Roever operates a foundation, which bears his name, based out of Fort Worth, Texas. The foundation hosts two retreats for wounded warriors each year, to help them overcome their mental and emotional injuries.
The weekend’s event, coupled with the speakers and veterans in attendance from nearly every war the United States has fought in since Korea, aimed to drive the point home that freedom isn’t free.
"Don’t ever stop celebrating your veterans because without them there is no freedom," Roever said, in a parting statement to the crowd.
For more information about the reunion, or ongoing events for veterans, persons interested may contact Egert, at 918-791-6137 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting www.legacyteams.org.