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July 13, 2010 > Eagle Scout's family gets badges he earned in 1933

Eagle Scout's family gets badges he earned in 1933

By Deborah Gertz Husar, Quincy Herald-Whig
Submitted By AP Wire Service

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (AP), Jul 06 - Raymond Bullard worked hard to earn the merit badges to become an Eagle Scout in 1933. But with money tight during the Great Depression, he couldn't afford to buy the badges.

``Physically having those merit badges was pretty low on the priority list for him,'' said Harold Bullard, Raymond Bullard's son. ``Earning them was the only thing that mattered, not having them.''

It was Scouting that mattered to Bullard, a Mount Sterling businessman and the owner of O'Neil's Store for many years.

``He played a really important role in Troop 11, not just as a Scout but as a leader,'' said Donna Coultas, fundraising secretary in the Boy Scouts of America's Mississippi Valley Council. ``He helped shape a lot of boys who are now Eagle Scouts.''

To honor Bullard and this year's 100th anniversary of Scouting, the Bullard family decided to present him with a sash and the badges he earned so many decades ago.

``The sash and badges were going to be a surprise,'' Bullard's brother-in-law Bob Volk said.

Plans called for making the presentation June 14 - 77 years and 77 days after Bullard pinned on his Eagle Medal. Sadly, Bullard died May 30 without seeing the sash.

``Dad wasn't one to make a fuss,'' Harold Bullard said. ``He didn't want anybody going out of their way for him. He was happy to do anything for anybody else, but he wasn't worried about people doing things for him. I think he would have thought it was nice, but a lot of fuss for him that wasn't necessary.''

Volk and Raymond Bullard's brother Roger worked with Coultas to track down the badges.

Scouts ``get a card with each merit badge, and he had kept those all the years,'' Coultas said. ``A lot of the badges he had earned were no longer available. We tried to give a merit badge comparable to what he would have earned.''

Bullard earned more than 30 badges. Eagle Scouts in the 1930s needed 21, with 11 required, according to the Eagle Scout Resource Center at eaglescout.org.

``It took a few weeks to get it all together,'' Coultas said. ``I really enjoyed it. The family was so excited abut doing this for him that it made me enthusiastic about it, too.''

Bullard used what he learned from earning the badges throughout his life.

``A lot of those life lessons helped serve him well in the service and well beyond,'' Harold Bullard said. ``He definitely lived the Scout oath and law.

``Dad had his priorities right in life. He was one of the most selfless people. A lot of people benefited from him, and he wasn't worried about any recognition for it. We could all be a little bit more like that.''

Since 1932, 57 Mount Sterling Scouts have attained the rank of Eagle, and countless others have reaped the rewards of the Scouting experience - thanks in part to Raymond Bullard.

``All the boys who have been through the program through the years held such a fond place in his heart,'' Harold Bullard said. ``He loved seeing the boys benefit from a great program.''

Bullard served on the troop committee for many years, planning the troop activities, and he saw many of his family members get involved in Scouting. Harold Bullard, who was more active in 4-H than Scouting as a youth, now is a scoutmaster, drawn into the program by his own son's participation.

``I thought that the public ought to know a little bit about what this one family has done,'' said Volk, who was never a Scout himself but helped many with badges to attain Eagle rank, including his two sons and two of his grandsons. ``You've got a moral obligation to make (the world) a better place, to leave your little mark if you can. We felt we had an obligation to help.''

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Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com

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