A LIVING LEGACY
“Anyone who was lucky enough to come into contact with Bobby recognized immediately that he was larger than life,” said Bobby’s longtime friend, Tony Iannone. “He was loyal, passionate, and gave himself freely to people in need.”
Born in Bryn Mawr, Bobby graduated from Harriton High School and later from Harcum Junior College. His career with railroads spans a period of 39 years, with the majority of that time spent developing and administering assistance programs for Amtrak as their national director.
His empathetic nature led him to dedicate his life not only to helping people address their addictions but building awareness and understanding of the struggle those with addictions face, Bobby directed 155 union-led prevention committees, including 2,400 committee members and 30 peer counselors across the United States to carry out drug and alcohol prevention and intervention training programs and cultural intervention strategies. He served as the liaison between Amtrak’s management and 16 rail labor organizations.
“I can’t begin to count the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen members and Amtrak employees whose lives Bobby not only touched but saved in a very significant way”, said Mark Kenny, BLET General Chairman, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Rail Conference. “His approach toward life in general and helping others in need was always selfless and at the forefront of his thinking. I simply cannot say enough about the man, the countless contributions he has made to our organization and the personal friend he has been to me for many, many years.”
While Bobby was at the helm of Operation RedBlock for nearly 25 years, there were no operational accidents related to drugs or alcohol. Among his many accomplishments, Bobby received presidential achievement awards from three administrations for work with RedBlock.
Motivated by a desire to continually identify new ways to enhance RedBlock’s programs along with his own efforts to support people with addictions, Bobby returned to school in his 40’s, earning a master’s degree in Human Service from Lincoln University.
“Bobby was always one to take on difficult challenges– even when the odds were stacked against him. He was an agent of change with a huge heart. His style of transformational leadership engaged, challenged, and inspired everyone around him, ” said Carmen Bianco, former Assistant Vice President, Safety and Environmental Control at Amtrak and Bobby’s friend of nearly 40 years.
Bobby’s professional accomplishments were dwarfed by his 34-year personal recovery. His own struggle and recovery fueled his ability to be able to save and change the lives of addicts and their families. Bobby had a favorite saying: Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.” His legacy lives on through hi closest friends, who continue to carry the message of recovery.
Bobby met Ronna, his wife of 19 years, at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. He was planning a RedBlock conference and she worked at the hotel as a sales manager. “Bobby was the first one to give me butterflies”, Ronna said. “We complemented each other in so many ways, from blending a family to living life on life’s terms.”
In addition to his wife, Bobby is survived by his children, Madalyn and her husband, Paul; Danielle and Andrew; his mother, Marie; his brother, Richard and a large extended family.