A folder containing emails and photos on the computer of UCHealth volunteer Bob Allen is simply labeled “fantastic.”
“I couldn’t think of a better name for it,” he said. “It was all just unbelievable.”
It started in early April with an email from United Way of Larimer County. Bob’s supervisor, Linda Fisher, regional director of UCHealth Volunteer and Guest Services in northern Colorado, had nominated Bob for the nonprofit’s annual Volunteer Hero Award in the basic needs category.
“Bob is the epitome of what I hope to find with all volunteers,” Fisher said. “He has touched so many patients, families and staff members that I feel his presence is immeasurable.”
Bob has accumulated 6,000 volunteer hours at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, and all but two of his 11 years volunteering have been spent in the PVH emergency room. In the ER — which saw more than 53,000 patients last year — Bob cleans exam rooms, makes beds, stocks supplies, transports patients in beds or wheelchairs, responds to requests from patients and medical staff, and visits with family and patients.
“I win every time I walk into this place,” Bob said. “I keep pinching myself.”
He’s had to pinch himself several more times since his nomination, including when he participated in UCHealth’s Moments to Shine program. UCHealth joins with partners to honor those who are healing and those who brighten lives of those who are healing.
Bob’s Moment to Shine was April 23 at the Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants baseball game on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Coors Field in Denver.
“It was almost like a cherry on top of it all,” Fisher said. “The joy Bob received being the UCHealth Moments to Shine nominee and being able to attend the Rockies game brought me so much joy — it was so magical.”
Bob’s day started about an hour before the game, when he got to meet Dinger — the Colorado Rockies’ mascot — and Dustin Garneau, a catcher.
“I’ve been low in the stands but never physically on the field,” Bob said. “I’m standing there thinking, ‘Wow, this is major league!’”
For Bob, the opportunity was more than a chance to get front stage at an MLB game. It was the first time his three grown children had all been together with him since 2015, the second Christmas after his wife, Barbara, passed away.
Barb had introduced Bob to volunteering. She had been volunteering at PVH for several years when she suggested that he might enjoy it too. And he did. The two worked together at the ambassador’s desk at PVH’s front entrance — Barb first training Bob.
“It was a fantastic way to get the family together,” Bob said about the game. “It was special on so many levels.”
Bob was recognized for all he does as a volunteer via the Jumbotron.
“To be able to bring awareness to volunteering is wonderful, and this event showed the community how much UCHealth cherishes its volunteers,” Fisher said. “They are heroes to us.”
Just like a volunteer — always thinking of others — Bob, too, saw the opportunity as a chance to inspire others.
“It does feel good to be thanked,” he said. “When you can do something to honor an individual or entity, that’s great, but what’s even better is that you’re letting other people know what good stuff is going on, and that’s inspiring.
“I’m lucky. I get to do what I love to do with people I love to do it with,” he continued. “We are a team in the (PVH) ER and that’s a big feeling, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to be part of it because I see what great things these people are doing.”
About a week and a half later after his Moment to Shine, Bob was awarded the United Way of Larimer County Volunteer Hero Award.