I Run For Bob was founded in the spring of 2010 in memory and honor of
Missoula Police Sergeant Bob Heinle.
Bob was raised on his family’s cattle ranch in Eastern Montana and attended school in Rosebud, MT. He and his brother grew up working on the ranch and in their limited free time, loved to play high school basketball. After high school, Bob moved to Missoula to attend the University of Montana. He graduated with a degree in accounting and in 1991, was hired with the Missoula Police Dept. Bob married Lisa in 1996 – they spent their free time riding horses, skiing, hiking, traveling and enjoying the outdoors…they both shared a passion for the Montana landscape. In October of 1998, Bob was shot in the line of duty while pursuing a forgery suspect. When the first officer arrived on the scene, Bob was not breathing and had no pulse. Thanks to the perfection of the responders and outstanding local care, Bob survived the incident. The injury left him a high-level quadriplegic – paralyzed from the shoulders down. After spending six months in a rehab hospital in Denver, Bob and Lisa returned to their home in Frenchtown, MT and began relearning how to live and find a new ‘normal’ in the foreign world of quadriplegia. They discovered how to embrace their new life with the help of friends, family and community that supported them through all the challenges and the triumphs.
Bob grew up exploring the outdoors and loved to hunt and fish. After his injury, he was able to pursue his passion for hunting with the aid of a sip-and-puff rifle mount. He also used adaptive equipment to play cards, read, and manipulate his computer. He and Lisa continued to travel and explored most of the U.S. with their service dogs Kirby and later, Cooper. Bob loved spending time with friends and family, playing cards, visiting and sharing quality time together. Many friends commented that even with the restraints of his disability, Bob experienced and embraced life more than most able-bodied people. He had a kind spirit and great wit and was an inspiration to many. Bob spent much of his free time working to stay fit and healthy, both mentally and physically, with the hope of one day walking again. Through his pain and what some would consider a handicap, Bob touched the heart of everyone he met. His life was not only a model of perseverance, but of undying love and conviction that nothing was impossible if you believed. As his good friend and Chief, Pete Lawrenson, wrote lately, “Bob was an extraordinarily competent police officer, valued member of the community and just a great person. For those of us that had the privilege of knowing and working with Bob, before and after the shooting, his enthusiasm for life was contagious”.
Bob passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in February of 2010 from complications of his injury. He is honored on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington DC for his service and sacrifice in the line of duty. In honor and tribute to Bob, after his passing, his wife Lisa and friends founded the ‘I Run For Bob’ Foundation. Their mission is to restore quality of life and provide otherwise inaccessible recreation experiences to individuals and families whose life has been affected by a life-altering injury or disability. Bob lived a very full, active and meaningful life; the goal of the Foundation is to help others do the same.