ROVER (Regional Outreach Veterans Engagement Resources) is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting Veterans and their families to resources and access opportunities to improve their quality of life. Using the phrase “Adaptive Veteran”™, their term for a Veteran that was wounded, ill, or injured, they can focus on the fact that the Veteran is moving forward after their injuries and that they are not defined by their injuries.
ROVER was founded in 2015 by combat-wounded, medically retired United States Army officer James Macrellis. Having served at various command and staff positions, he served 24 years in
both the enlisted and officer ranks, primarily in special operations positions and units. He was wounded during a second tour in 2005-2006 and then again in 2009 during his third tour in Afghanistan. He has suffered multiple physical injuries and TBI’s.
ROVER provides an environment and opportunities to improve quality of life for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and their families, who have served to protect our country and the freedoms we enjoy.
ROVER understands the unique challenges of transitioning from combat to civilian life. They are combat veterans, spouses, caregivers or dependents of veterans. ROVER also is able to identify with the unique demands and stressors that the people they serve face because they, too, have lived through them.
Through workforce training and placement, therapeutic recreation, and health and wellness programming, ROVER provides veterans and their families a pathway to building the best life they can imagine, what they call the Adaptive Veteran™. ROVER works in coordination or partnerships with other organizations to do this. Their key goal is to avoid duplication of efforts already in place. They want to be a “force multiplier” for other organizations.
By utilizing formal partnerships with federal and state agencies, educational institutions, and private businesses, ROVER works to provide short-term training courses for veterans. These courses assist veterans in finding gainful employment and earning a living wage.
By participating in adaptive or able-bodied recreational therapy such as seated volleyball, sailing, diving, or fishing, combat veterans experience an increased feeling of competence, a general sense of vigor, and a reduction in depression, tension, and anger. The results also indicate a promising trend towards potential improvement in overall psychological health.
ROVER is recognized by the Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Health System as an official partner and provider for recreational therapy opportunities for the veterans in our region.
Current therapeutic recreation opportunities offered at ROVER are Wheelchair T’ai Chi and Swim with the Whale Sharks Immersion Program through Georgia Aquarium.
There are many opportunities for Veterans and their families to engage and network with other veterans and their family members. This social focus area is critical to connecting individuals to those who understand what it’s like to be a returning veteran, the spouse of the veteran, or the child of a veteran. Wellness and Social programs include Veteran Nights Out, Spouse/Caregiver Nights Out, Day Trips, BBQ’s or Cookout, and Hunting or Fishing Trips.
ROVER’s Veterans Service Officers (VSO) are available to advise veterans, their survivors, and dependents of their rights under the various military service benefits acts, as well as assist with receiving their earned benefits via proper preparation & follow-up of applicable state & federal applications.
ROVER’s mission is to serve our veterans in a holistic manner – body, mind and spirit – with the primary goal being an improved and sustained quality of life.
To learn more about ROVER, visit their website http://rover.vet/.