On this Veteran’s Day, Mike Rowe will be honoring our nation’s finest heroes with his Facebook Watch show “Returning the Favor” by highlighting the many people doing work to help veterans adjust to everyday life.
Speaking with Fox News, Rowe said that he felt compelled to dedicate an episode of the show to veterans with the understanding that everything good Americans enjoy stems from the fact that a man or woman was willing to put on the uniform and die.
“Like a lot of people I spent a lot of my life taking veterans for granted – out of sight, out of mind,” said Rowe. “Sure, I was grateful. I knew they were risking their lives for me. But when you don’t see it day after day, you become disconnected from it… And if you don’t see it, it’s not on the top of your mind.”
“As I started doing ‘Dirty Jobs,’ we began to feature more and more veterans on the show,” he continued. “Somebody’s got to do it. I was reminded every time that they are the tip of the spear. Every freedom I have, every nice thing I enjoy is made possible by a veteran. So when it came time to film ‘Returning the Favor,’ I was at a point in my career where we were able to specifically focus on the people that are most important to me. Well, the vets are right on top.”
The episode will focus on Dan Waite’s Operation ReBoot Outdoors, which helps veterans suffering from PTSD with therapy through connecting with nature, whether it be hunting, fishing, or just simply pitching a tent out in the woods.
“Dan didn’t start [his organization] to help other people – he was trying to save his own life,” Rowe said. “He was up against the wall. He was not succeeding. He was not assimilating properly when he returned home. So, he went into the woods and lived off the land. He hunted, fished and reconnected with nature. It had a huge impact on him. As a result, he began to invite other veterans to come on these adventures with him. The results were somewhere between therapeutic and miraculous.”
On this Veteran’s Day, Rowe would like Americans to remember that “every good and decent thing we enjoy was paid in blood.”
“We take so many of our freedoms for granted,” he said. “The Bill of Rights, every freedom in the Constitution, the freedom to move around freely. Every good and decent thing we enjoy was paid in blood by men and women who put on a uniform and then went away.”
Going forward, Rowe hopes the country will better serve our veterans by not leaving them behind.
“We’ve abandoned them,” he said. “That might be too strong of a word, but we haven’t stepped up to do what we can to help them reassemble. We haven’t put them at the front of the line to get them the help and opportunities they need once they come home. We have a duty ourselves to return the favor. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years. We take things for granted. It is a very human thing to do. But unfortunately, the men and women who wear the uniform are among the things we take for granted.”