Volunteering with the American Red Cross is very close to home for John C. Montgomery. Well, not physically close to home. As a blood transportation specialist, Montgomery drives and delivers blood to hospitals across Central Ohio. But the need for blood is an issue very close to Montgomery.
“When my late wife was so sick with cancer, she was anemic and she needed multiple blood transfusions,” said John. “We lived out in West Ohio and it often took a long time to find a match. It was a difficult time but somehow, someone got her the blood she needed.”
After losing his wife in 2011, John would see the need for blood again. This time, he was the one in need.
“When I had open heart surgery and had some complications, I needed blood transfused about two or three times. And again, somehow somebody got blood for me,” said John. “I had surgery in 2015, and once I recovered by the end of the year, I was in this business.”
Transporting blood was natural fit for Montgomery, and fulfilled a specific purpose for him.
“I can’t donate blood because I’m diabetic,” said Montgomery, “But I can be one of the middle people and be a delivery guy.”
At 71-years-old, John has spent his life in public service. He began with a career in the public school system, first as a teacher, then a school principal and finally, a superintendent, before he retired in 2003.
“This business of transporting blood is an amazing way to give back and pay it forward at the same time,” said John, “I don’t take it very lightly. I know that when taking blood to hospitals, somebody there needs it desperately. I love doing that. Helping those in need is part of who I am and I am really happy to have an outlet for that.”
John began volunteering as a driver in October of 2015. He first got interested through talking to his good friend Clyde Welch, who also volunteers and delivers blood across the state. For John, volunteering fit into his current retirement lifestyle.
“Volunteering to me is very satisfying and rewarding,” said John, “It’s a way that I complete myself I have a need within me to be of service to public. This way I can give back and still feel fulfilled in that service that I give. It makes me feel really good.”