United Way of the Virginia Peninsula is honored to salute Community Hero, Rob Coleman. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Rob and his family moved to Newport News when he was two years old. “I had a great childhood here,” he says. “I went to Newport News public schools, was involved in youth sports, Boy Scouts, and had so many adult coaches, teachers, and mentors. I had much given to me as a child, and I always believed it’s up to me to ‘give back.’”
Rob has spent a lifetime giving back to the city he calls “home.” He began his 21-year career with the Newport News Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Clay Hester, who he credits with exposing him to all aspects of community service, from being an elected official to volunteering with community organizations. A former Vice-Mayor and city councilman for the City of Newport News, Rob is currently a volunteer and former board chairman of Habitat for Humanity. He is also an ambassador for the Lackey Free Clinic, a member of the Peninsula Airport Commission, member of the Transportation Commission and is currently President of the Wendwood Community Association. But this humble servant is most passionate about the work he does for young people in Newport News.
When asked what makes him most proud, Rob doesn’t miss a beat, “The Denbigh Youth Alliance,” he says—an organization he currently chairs. “Working with the City Council’s Initiative on Youth and Gang Violence, the STEP program and the Denbigh Youth Alliance has been very rewarding,” says Rob, “and this has paid great dividends so far.” Through collaborative efforts with Boys & Girls Clubs, public libraries, schools, colleges, and non-profits, the Alliance helps create job training and employment opportunities for young people aged 16-24.