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Muralt’s Drive to Save Lives

Lewis and Clark Blood Services Region

October 6, 2009
In Montana everyone knows Muralt’s Travel Plaza. Located in Missoula, the travel plaza is a family operated truck stop which has served the trucking industry and the general motoring public for over 30 years.
The owner, Walt Muralt, believes strongly in the importance of blood donation and is a great community advocate for many non-profit groups. When The National Association of Truck Stop Owners adopted blood donation as its cause many years ago, Walt and his travel plaza were enthusiastic participants. At one time, Muralt’s Drive to Save Lives was the largest blood drive in Montana. According to Darla Ewer, donor recruitment manager for Montana, “It is the only event of its kind, this year held the week of the Labor Day holiday.  No other blood drive in the Big Sky state lasts an entire week, at such a needed time, directly following the summer months. Thisyear the Red Cross collected 144 units during the 4-day event.  
The NATSO Drive to Save Lives started as a national competition between truck drivers. But, in Missoula it is now a competition between area businesses which commit to recruiting donors who give blood at various locations throughout the event.  This year there were 13 businesses including the University of Montana Men’s basketball team, the UM School of Business, First Security Bank, Allied Waste, Smurfit Stone, Jim Palmer Trucking, Jones Brothers Trucking, the American Red Cross and Muralt’s employees to name a few. 
This was the 15th Annual Drive to Save Lives. The spirit of the event is still alive and the businesses that continue to partner with Walt and the Drive to Save Lives are committed to the mission of saving lives.