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BCBSMT Volunteer of the Year Julie Rader poses with a fire truck.

Coming to the Aid of Others: Julie Rader Named Volunteer of the Year

Helping spread positivity motivates Julie Rader to give back to her community and to help those going through difficult times experience a little joy. Rader’s dedication to serving others, as well as positively impacting the lives of people going through difficult times are just some of the reasons she is BCBSMT’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year.

“Julie’s commitment to volunteering and helping others not only makes her community better, but also safer,” said John Doran, Divisional Vice President of External Affairs. “It takes a lot of sacrifice and energy to be a volunteer firefighter. Julie has also provided a bit of light for those going through difficult times and she is a role model on living our purpose.”

Rader, a medical policy nurse who helps create, review, and update medical policies, has served as a member of the Montana City Volunteer Fire Department for the past seven years, and has supported countless other organizations. Rader donated nearly 160 hours of her time volunteering this past year, with more than 115 of those hours as a volunteer firefighter.

“I want to help people find the positive,” Rader said. “It has been hard the past couple of years.”

Looking to get an adrenaline fix led Rader to the fire department, which was her first big volunteering commitment. It is something she enjoyed beginning in rookie training, and it involves more than fighting fires. Rader assists on medical calls, handling EMS responsibilities for ambulance calls, and enjoys volunteering at schools during fire prevention week.

[Related: See more ways BCBSMT is making an impact in our communities]

Being active and helping others drives Rader in her other volunteer efforts and includes organizations such as Casting for Recovery and the Mayfly Project. In her words, she focuses on the three Fs when volunteering: fire and fly fishing.

For the past five years Rader has also been involved with Casting for Recovery, which teaches women recovering from breast cancer how to fly fish. She had just learned to fly fish when she heard about the organization, and she thought if she could share that passion, it would be impactful. It has been, both for the new fly fishers and for Rader. 

“We have breakfast with them, and we meet them, and then they go to a pavilion and they get all their stuff, and they are just glowing,” Rader said. “We haven’t even fished yet and they are glowing putting on this vest and waders and getting their fishing pole. It was just a different type of connection than I’ve ever had. Some of the women I still maintain contact with to this day.”

The Mayfly Project also involves fly fishing, with mentors paired up with children in foster homes. The main goal of the program is to get kids outside and allow them to focus on something positive in their life for a while.

As the 2021 Volunteer of the Year, Rader earns a personal bonus and the opportunity to name a charity to receive a $1,000 donation from BCBSMT. 

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association