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Henrico man who hit rock bottom is now a ‘lighthouse of hope’ for recovering addicts

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A new job can be intimidating. Bob de Triquet is adjusting to the mountains of emails and fielding endless phone calls.

“It is challenging. It is exciting,” said Bob. “It is something new every day.”

But these duties are far from the most demanding.

“We just know what it looks like. When someone is overdosing,” said Bob.

The 27-year-old works at McShin Foundation’s recovery center.

Bob de Triquet

“I’m the director of the men’s program,” said Bob.

Bob helps addicts like Jesse Gunn get and stay clean. For a dozen years, the 33-year-old has been battling an addiction to heroin.

“I’ve put myself in situations and I was desperate and didn’t know who to call,” said Jesse.

Bob can relate.

“I know that pain. I know that hopeless feeling of what I’m going to do,” said Bob.

The Suffolk native’s life was consumed by narcotics.

“It’s fun for about a day but then after about a day it’s not fun,” said Bob.

The former construction worker would steal from job sites to feed his habit.

“Nothing else mattered,” Bob added.

Two years ago, Bob entered McShin. Enough was enough.

Bob and Jesse

“That made the difference. That gave me a purpose. Gave me a responsibility,” he said.

In 2017 he accepted the job as men’s coordinator. Now he is literally saving the lives of others like Jesse.

“The thing that happened was the last thing that I thought was going to happen,” said Jesse.

Last September, Jesse walked into this bathroom to get his fix.

“I came in and sat on the toilet,” said Jesse. In hindsight, it was a terrible, terrible idea.”

Heroin sank its teeth deep into Jesse and did not let go.

“I just remember trying to piece together what was going on, where I was and what happened,” said Jesse. “Extremely scary.”

Jesse was overdosing. Death was closing in. Without thinking Bob literally sprang into action.

“At first his face was gray. Making funny noises and noticed he could not breathe,” said Bob.

Within seconds Bob gave a dying Jesse a drug to block the effects of opioids four times.

Bob and Jesse

“My god. This is not what he intended for me. He didn’t want me to die on a toilet with drugs in my system,” said Jesse.

Bob’s quick thinking saved a grateful Jesse.

McShin’s co-founder John Shinsholser says his dedicated colleague delivers hope.

“Bob is a lighthouse of hope,” said John. “Our motto is healing families, saving lives and Bob is the leader of that pack in that regard.”

That fateful moment in a bathroom stall cemented the bond between these friends. It is a moment that set Jesse on a path toward sobriety.

“That is what it is all about for me. Give back and show people that there is hope and never give up the fight.”

For Bob de Triquet, saving lives including his own is all in a day’s work.

“Never a dull day,” said Bob. “It has been a growing experience for me. I love this job.”

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" features. If you know of someone CBS 6 should should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com. Click here to view more "Heroes Among Us" reports.

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com