Meet the veteran who saved near-drowning victims as Altavista police arrived on scene

After the original story aired, 10 News found the veterans who assisted in the life-saving moment

Army veteran Connie Peresada was on a walk with Marine veteran Bob Lyon, when they heard the cries for help and took action to start saving the men's lives.

ALTAVISTA, Va. – Body camera video captured Altavista police and paramedics treating two men from a near-drowning at English Park.

Officer Scott Earhart was there Monday evening, but he said other caregivers were first on the scene.

“There was a female that had apparently revived the one [victim] that I was with. She was a combat medic. I don’t have her name, but she did a wonderful job,” said Earhart.

After the original story aired Tuesday, 10 News found the combat medics that saved the victim.

Army veteran Connie Peresada was on a walk with Marine veteran Bob Lyon, when they heard the cries for help.

“A family was having a picnic and we realized something was wrong, so we ran down the embankment,” said Peresada.

Peresada said they found three unconscious men – a teenager and two adults – by the shoreline.

Lyon ran up the embankment to call 911.

Peresada said the family did not know how to perform CPR, so she jumped in to save the teenager.

A language barrier prevented her ability to communicate with the family,

“There was an older family member with a mustache who motioned hand gestures to let him understand [how to perform CPR]. He would mimic [me] and started to do CPR in the correct location,” said Peresada.

The family saved the second victim as emergency crews arrived, then police revived the third unconscious man.

“The timing was there. It was only on God because we were going to stop when we got to the back of the park,” said Lyon.

Lyon and Peresada were at the park to get some fresh air because Lyon underwent heart surgery last week and Peresada is battling stage four cancer.

They work nearby at the National Center for Healthy Veterans and said it was an honor to be a part of the miracle.

“That could’ve been the worst day of their lives, and instead it turned out to be a blessing,” said Lyon.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.