Community services specialist gives back

Jim E. Crossbuck, a community services specialist on campus, never hesitates
to give students in need a lift, as was evident during Friday’s rainstorm.
SCOUT services allow disabled students to get from class to class easier.
Stephen Keleher / The Collegian

On a rainy Friday morning, Jim E. Crossbuck, a community services specialist at Fresno State, drove by the library in the Student Campus Community Transport (SCOUT) vehicle and spotted a student on crutches struggling to get somewhere through the storm.

“You need a ride? Where do you need do go?” Crossbuck asked. “Health Center? Watch your head getting in, OK?”

The vehicle is electric and can run for about 18 hours between charges. It seats five passengers and has room for several wheelchairs.

SCOUT is a little-known part of campus life that helps students with disabilities get from class to class. Students can set up a regular schedule for pickup and delivery according to their academic needs by filling out a form online.  SCOUT is just one of the services the university offers to disabled students to help them succeed in their studies regardless of their disability.

Crossbuck’s next scheduled pickup was accountancy professor Dennis Baker at the Education Building. Baker has Parkinson’s disease, making it hard for him to get around easily.

“They set me up on a daily schedule,” Baker said. “I arrive on campus where I’m supposed to be, Jim E. puts me on board and gets me over to where I need to be. It’s one of the best services at Fresno State.”

Another regular passenger is Holly, a blind student who has just started working with a Seeing Eye dog and is still learning how to get around with it. She is able to use SCOUT on an on-call basis whenever she needs that extra bit of help to get to class.

Even students who are temporarily disabled due to injury or illness can make use of the service.

“I don’t think that students realize this service is available to them even though they say it in the catalog and online,” Crossbuck said. “So if we run into people [who] are disabled or on crutches or have a physical disability we tell them the procedures they have to do in order to get on it while they ride.”

Crossbuck is a Vietnam War veteran and holds several degrees. He has been a teacher and coach at high schools and at Fresno City College as well as a Fresno County sheriff’s deputy, but for the past nine years he’s been driving the SCOUT vehicle, helping people out on campus Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A second community service staff member operates the vehicle in the evenings.

As he travels around campus between scheduled pickups, Crossbuck looks for people who are laboring to get around and will offer them a ride. During Friday’s downpour, he had several students take up his offer of a ride to places such as the Satellite Student Union or the Family and Food Science building.

“I was thinking about retiring,” Crossbuck said as he dropped off the last passenger at the Health Center. “But here, I get to meet people. I enjoying helping them.”

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