After decades of donating blood to the Red Cross, Vic Paul now spends his time in a different chair, the driver’s seat, as he delivers these lifesaving products to those who need it most. As a Red Cross volunteer transportation specialist, Vic drives blood from the donation center in Boise to Idaho hospitals. He’s made these deliveries for 28 years — an amazing accomplishment made even more impressive by the fact Vic recently turned 90.
“I just grab onto every day I can now,” he said.
At his doctor’s suggestion, Vic stopped donating blood when he was in his late 70s after more than three decades — “I quit counting at 35 years” — and found another way to give back. He started by intermittently hauling donated blood products in Red Cross refrigerated vans, and those short runs eventually evolved into regular long-haul deliveries to and from places like La Grande, Ore.
Now his main routes are what he considers quick trips around Boise, Nampa and Caldwell.
Even before the Red Cross, Vic had lots of experience making important shipments. While with the U.S. Army, his duties included delivering tanks.
“I wasn’t shipped overseas. …But I did see time in the Mojave training soldiers to be tank drivers, and some of them had never even driven a car,” Vic said.
In his professional life, he examined commercial insurance policies and then graded insurance policies for municipalities. He retired at age 62.
Vic also spends hours each month volunteering with his VA hospital.
Vic said though he drives alone, his Red Cross work has connected him with a great group of volunteers, a group he hopes will continue to grow.
“We are always looking for office help or drivers,” Vic said.
“I try to speak with all the able and interested and tell them that the best part of Red Cross volunteering is being part of the camaraderie. It’s a great crew to work with.”
Transportation specialists needed
The Red Cross needs more people like Vic to deliver lifesaving blood. Though these positions are currently filled in Idaho, there are several opportunities in Montana. Once blood drives have ended in Kalispell, Missoula, Helena and Bozeman, these volunteers drive blood products to Great Falls for processing and distribution. Red Cross provides vehicles for use during these shifts and reimburses drivers for one meal.
Email IDMT.Recruiting@redcross.org or call 406-493-8778 to learn more.