Bobby Crow hasn’t lived in Montana all that long, but he sure has seen a lot of the Big Sky state.
Retired from the military and living in Great Falls, Crow had time on his hands and a desire to help others. He was also looking for an opportunity to explore more of Montana, so volunteering as a Red Cross blood services transportation specialist seemed like a natural fit.
After riding along with an experienced driver on just one run in May, Crow never looked back. Since then, he’s tallied more than 155 hours on the road, traveling to Fairview and Glendive, Missoula and Kalispell, and many places in between, as he delivers life-saving blood. This has meant a few 14-hour days along the way.
“I’ve pretty much been all over,” Crow said with laugh.
Bobby’s wife Penny often rides along to keep him company. She also plays another important role.
“She’s a good wildlife spotter,” he said. “That’s generally the biggest concern.”
Crow was reminded of this late one night when he crested a hill on his way back from Missoula. Waiting for him on the other side was an elk carcass. Crow didn’t have much time to react and hit it pretty squarely.
“Fortunately it didn’t do much damage to the vehicle,” said Crow, who was able to continue on his way.
On another run he had another close encounter, this time with six live elk.
“It’s good to see all the wildlife,” Crow said. “Except when they’re out in the middle of the highway.”
Crow’s Montana adventures will end soon as he and Penny make the move to Austin, Texas, to be closer to family.
Red Cross Volunteer Engagement Representative Karrie Schearer said Crow’s departure will leave huge shoes to fill.
“This guy is just awesome,” she said. “He’s picked up so many shifts for us and is always willing to step in at the last minute to help.
“The heart he has for it is just phenomenal.”
If you would like to become a blood services transportation volunteer, or help out in another way, visit redcross.org/montana and click on volunteer. There’s a volunteer opportunity to match almost any interest or skillset.