ROANOKE, Va. – A Rockbridge County native has been working tirelessly, leading the emergency response to COVID-19 in the Roanoke Valley since last March.
“It was about April when I started telling people we need to prepare to do this for the next year,” said Robert Foresman, emergency coordinator for the Roanoke City and Alleghany health districts.
Foresman has devoted his life to emergency management. His role has been critical to getting the Roanoke Valley back on its feet, but that’s something he almost never got to see.
One year ago, a heart attack left Foresman dead in his own front yard until Rockbridge County deputy Daniel Trout showed up, performed CPR and saved his life.
Foresman doesn’t remember what happened but he does remember all the first responders who helped him. On the anniversary, he made it a point to go say thank you.
“I just — I can’t ever thank them enough because I truly feel like I’ve gotten a second chance at life,” Foresman said.
Foresman has taken full advantage of that with a newfound purpose in his work at the health department during a time of so much uncertainty.
“It really gave me that sense of getting back in it. And, yeah, I’m doing something positive and I’m helping the community,” Foresman said.
Those efforts stretch well beyond his job.
He’s now promoting heart health, advocating for the American Heart Association and getting back to broadcasting football games at Rockbridge County High School.
His near-death experience has also changed his perspective, realizing what really matters.
Last year, he told 10 News, “I want to be able to see my grandbaby.” On Monday, he said, “She’s five months old and she is absolutely precious. She can do no wrong in my eyes.”
Celebrating new life and new opportunities to change lives, thanks to a new lease on his own.
“Whatever message that I’m supposed to take out there, I’m the vessel and if it saves one or… Whatever, I’m going to do it,” Foresman said.