Trailblazing Eagle Scout Remembered

Bullard couldn't afford his badges back in 1933

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    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.