Greetings, my name is Joseph DeVere and I am an urbanized Cherokee Indian on my mother’s side. There is very little documentation, history or talk about being part Native American. So I spent several years learning about my roots and I’m also a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, Graduate of the Coast Guard’s basic coxswain course at the prestigious National Motor Lifeboat School at the mouth of the Columbia River, called “The Graveyard of the Pacific” and recipient of the “Junior Enlisted of the Year” in 1994 by the Navy League of Northern California. Recipient of the “Citizens Medal of Merit” by the Peace Officers Association of Ventura County for rescuing 2 swimmers that got swept out by a rip current. I was a volunteer white water rafting guide for Friends of the River, PADI Dive master and devoted surfer. I am also the Founder and President of the 501©3 organization, the Threus Foundation which serves the disabled community in the San Fernando Valley with adventure sports as a form of therapy for the newly injured. I have a spinal cord injury (SCI) at the T12-L2 level considered incomplete from an accident I will tell you about briefly and am diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which has affected me with levels of disabilities at all 4 limbs. Essentially qualifying as an incomplete quadriplegic.
In 2002, I received medical diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis. This occurred after I put together a wedding with Rosanna Hersh and acquired a great new job with Royce Medical. We were shocked when we got the news. The only thing the doctors could offer was disease modifying drugs filled with side effects that gives you a perpetual sick feeling. I believed in God but wondered, Why me? Then we got the news that MS could be exacerbated by heat and stress, I was devastated. I was very hard headed and willful destroying my relationships with others. I was exposed to high stress at my job and would have attacks every three months on the nose. I tried 5 different disease modifying medications with very severe side effects and were ultimately ineffective.
Slowly, I in addition to my body, my life would deteriorate. I lost friends, hope and eventually lost my job. I suffered a psychotic break due to side effects from the medications I was taking that didn’t work. I started hallucinating that my life’s transgressions were displayed on my TV. I was receiving instructions from the TV to go to the LA Airport. I also hallucinated that demons were gathering up souls on the street I lived on. I called my friend Rick and explained what was going on in my head. He said I needed Jesus and took me through the sinner’s prayer and directed me to the book John. I was overwhelmed and broken down. There was no hope. No inspiration. No thought to a better future. The demons convinced me that if I kept going down this road, it would lead me into the hands of the enemy. Serving by his side for darkness and that was not an option. I belong to God. I got in my truck with the purpose to end my life and commit myself into God’s hands. I took off my seatbelt and found the steepest cliff that I could. I then got some serious air as I went off the cliff. I lost consciousness as I flew down 200 feet.
I woke up two hours later at the bottom of the canyon unable to move my legs. Realizing the severity of what I just did I cried out to God for help! A voice returned saying “Hang in there we will be right down.” A rescue crew was preparing to extract a body but I think Jesus had another idea. I was flown to Northridge Hospital with a fractured spinal cord from T12-L2 vertebrae. I underwent spinal surgery and had a miraculous recovery. After 9 months of rehab I was walking with a cane. I felt incredibly blessed by God, but I didn’t put the Jesus factor together till years later.
While walking with the cane I developed a urinary tract infection that triggered the most severe MS attack I ever had. It put me back in the hospital where I lost the ability to walk again. I spent another 3 months in recovery but was yet to walk again. During a doctor visit, I asked my neurologist “What my prognosis was?” With over 30 years’ experience of treating MS patients within the VA system; he gave us the obvious answer “I don’t know, it’s MS.” Knowing the progressive nature of MS and not knowing when or how severe the next attack will be, I took it as an E-Ticket to ride. Rosanna and I wanted to do everything I could from a wheelchair that I could. Our first adventure would be adaptive snow skiing, then adaptive surfing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and surf kayaking. We formed a non-profit called the Threus Foundation, when we set the goal to do the three S’s, Adaptive skiing, surfing and skydiving. Our organization is now a 501©3 with the IRS legitimizing our efforts.
When I realized that I survived the accident after praying to Jesus, I thought I would open my mind to his ideas and learn about salvation and his sacrifice. I turned on TBN and read my bible to learn everything I could about Jesus. I discovered hope and freedom during my initial exploration. Jesus gave me a reason to live. It wasn’t a coincidence that my life was spared after accepting Jesus Christ. He has a special purpose for my life as he has for all of you. I learned that God loves all of us in a very real, special way. He gave us his son Jesus Christ to give his life so that we might be saved and have an intimate relationship with him.
New International Version (NIV)
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
With much respect,