Juan Roman, Good Samaritan
On a very late night in which temperatures had dipped well below freezing, Juan Roman, a PGS remote engineer in Virginia, just wanted to get home to his family. After working until nearly 1 a.m. at GE’s Salem facility, he was finally headed to his house when he drove past a man who was not at all dressed for the weather. Juan kept driving, but he couldn’t get the man on the road out of his mind. “This was an older man, a senior citizen, and he had no hat and no gloves,” Juan says. He turned around. Stopping at a nearby gas station, Juan bought a cup of hot coffee and offered it, along with his own warm gloves, to the stranger.
Juan’s wife, Maria, was not surprised. “Most of us would have just driven by and thought, ‘it’s not my business to wonder why someone is outside in sub-freezing weather, wearing no hat or gloves or even a warm coat.’ Not my husband. He told me that he felt there was a reason he had to stop and help this gentleman. He just had a feeling.”
Juan, who has worked for GE since 2000, didn’t ask the man why he was out in the cold in the middle of the night, but he saw appreciation in the stranger’s eyes when the man shook his hand in thanks. “I am a veteran,” the man said, and Juan knew the source of the strong calling he had felt to turn around and help. Juan served six years on a Navy destroyer in the Persian Gulf and tries to help fellow vets whenever he can.
Maria Roman knows that many would have concerns about the safety of stopping to help to someone they didn’t know, but she has come to expect this sort of thing from her husband. “This is not the first time he has gone above and beyond,” she says. “Last year, during a big blizzard that left many stranded in the streets, Juan helped several people get their cars out of the snow and helped transport an elderly woman to her daughter’s home after she got stuck on a hill.” These are only a few examples of the ways in which Juan is a hero, Maria says. “To me and the kids, we have a million examples of why he is our hero.”
For his generosity, Juan was recognized as a Good Samaritan Hero on March 27 by the Virginia Mountain Region of the American Red Cross. Roanoke’s NBC affiliate, WSLS 10 was present during this event. The recognition occurred during the annual breakfast ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel in Roanoke, VA. Heroes were honored in the categories of Medical, Firefighter, Law Enforcement, Emergency Responder, Good Samaritan, Humanitarian, Community Impact, Workplace, Military and Education.
For more information on the American Red Cross: http://www.roanokevalleyredcross.org