Lee family helps heart attack victim

Lt. Col. Keil Scott, his spouse Rosalyn, and Rev. Michael Fields, senior pastor at Newville Baptist Church, Waverly, pose with Phil Romeo during his recovery at Southside Regional Medical Center, Petersburg, after suffering a heart attack. The Scott family rendered assistance to the 53 year old a week earlier and the SRMC staff said it likely saved his life. The Scott family was honored Sunday at the Baptist Church. Romeo and his family were in attendance.

FORT LEE, Va. – “They are truly good Samaritans,” proclaimed Rev. Michael Fields, senior pastor at Newville Baptist Church, Waverly. “Lt. Col. (Keil) Scott and his wife, Rosalyn, literally saved Phil Romeo’s life. What a blessing this is.”

Romeo, 53, was salvaging wood from an old building on the church campus July 17, and had completed work for the day. “He was heading home to Gloucester County on Route 460 when he began experiencing chest pains,” said Fields in a phone interview Monday with the Traveller. “He stopped at the Disputanta Volunteer Fire Station (in Prince George County) to seek assistance, but no one was there. He returned to his truck, bent over and saw vehicles passing by. He hoped someone would stop.”

At about 9 p.m., the Scott family, including twin 13-year-old-daughters and their 19-year-old son, was returning home to Spring Grove in Sussex County. They had participated in a Vacation Bible School event at Monumental Baptist Church, Petersburg. Upon seeing the man who appeared under stress, they stopped and rendered emergency assistance. Hospital medical staff said Romeo had suffered a heart attack and credited the Scotts for saving his life. As a result of their actions, the Army officer who works in the Sustainment Capability Development Integration Directorate at CASCOM, and his family were honored during a morning service at the church in Waverly Sunday.

Rosalyn Scott talked about the incident in a phone interview. “We were traveling on 460 when I noticed a gentleman bent over with his hands on his knees in front of a vehicle. I said to my husband ‘something is wrong.’ So, he turned around and pulled our van close to him. The man was now sitting on the ground and asked us for help. My husband got out to render aid while I called 911.”

During the next 5-10 minutes, the lieutenant colonel talked to Romeo who was sweating, complaining of chest pains and having difficulty breathing. “While my husband kept him alert and made sure he was breathing, I was relaying information on his symptoms to the 911 dispatch operator. I said ‘we need help now’ and the operator confirmed it was on the way.”

Romeo also asked the Army officer to find his cellphone in the truck so he could call his family in New York. “He reached a family member and told her he was in a medical emergency,” Rosalyn Scott said. “He continued to struggle to stay alert, and I told the operator to get someone here immediately. We knew it was serious, and we were all praying for him.”

EMS arrived and transported Romeo to Southside Regional Medical Center where he underwent several heart procedures and was doing well within several days.

“It was divine intervention that we met at that time,” Rosalyn Scott said. “We are a military family and serve our country to the best of our abilities. We, however, just don’t serve for the flag. We are an integral part of the community where we live. We may be here for a short period, but the places where we live are our communities. The Soldiers and their families want to see their neighborhoods thrive and do well wherever they live. We are hoping we can make a difference in the communities where we serve.”

At the Waverly church service, the congregation honored the Scott family. In attendance were Romeo, his mother and three other family members.

“They really did not want any special attention,” Fields noted, “but we felt it was only right to honor them. People in our culture don’t always take the time to get involved, but they did. They are just a great example of what we need in our society.”