Retired paramedic raises money for fire dept. with singing talents
Bob Bullard and his partner, Stacy Skaggs, have been holding performance fundraisers once a month and raised thousands of dollars
By Pamela L. Bonner
RUIDOSO, N.M. — Bob Bullard, AKA Bob the Fireman, is a retired paramedic Captain of the Odessa Fire Department that now spends his time raising money for the Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Department and emergency rescue teams.
From April to September, Bullard and his partner, singer Stacy Skaggs, have been hosting a monthly fundraiser at Cree Meadows Country Club for emergency volunteers. September 1, at 6:30 p.m. will be the last fundraiser for the year.
The performing duo first met years ago when they were singing together at the local church they both attended. Not long after, they started singing for local benefits which lead Bullard wanting to come up with more ways to raise money for local emergency respondents.
After contacting Cree Meadows, it was determined that once a month events could be held at the Country Club. The management decided they would help Bullard and his causes by allowing the duo to play for free so they would have a facility.
Bullard and his wife, JoAnn, moved to Ruidoso from Odessa seven years ago after he served for 20 years with the Odessa fire department and 10 years as an industrial firefighter, working during the ‘Industrial Conflict’. For 14 out of the 20 years he served, he was the paramedic Captain. Bullard is now spending his days playing music to raise funds for volunteer fire fighters and respondents.
“Firefighters and those who serve in the emergency fields are something I will always will hold close to my heart. We have a lot of volunteer firefighters in Lincoln county that serve our communities,” Bullard said.
After his service, Bullard decided it was just time to retire. Bullard served as Captain during one of the worse disasters in Odessa, the ‘Champion Chemical Fire’ of 1992. “I remember big barrels of chemicals flying over my head, flames were everywhere, and the air was polluted with the sights and smells of chemicals. Poisonous gasses filled the air,” Bullard said. “It was one of the most horrible sights I ever encountered during my career.”
The fire was started by a lightning strike during a major storm and changed the lives of 100,000 people. “I would not take it from my whole, but I would not wish it on anybody. This is just one of the many reasons why I raise funds for Emergency crews, not just volunteer fire fighters,” Bullard said. “It was up to all of us, to be the best that we could be. Whether it was a fire or medical emergencies.”
JoAnn, Bullard’s wife, also became very involved in community service not long after the couple moved to Ruidoso. Often, the couple worked together on several projects to raise funds for those in need. “I played guitar, and she was volunteering at the food bank. My first fund raiser was at the food bank. My wife and I did this for about three years. She still is with the food bank and does it year-round,” Bullard said.
Through several fund raisers and the generous donations from the community, Bullard has been able to raise enough money to help the On-Scene-Support teams (OSS) providing recuse crews with everything from water to blankets while they are working on location. With the assistance of Michael Myers, a member of OSS for a few years now, Bullard is able to extend help further reaching the volunteers and emergency crews, providing them with some of the supplies they may need on site; whether it is under the extreme conditions of the sizzling summer months or the freeze of winter.
“Where we are needed, we will go,” Bullard said. “Joe Kenmore, a member of the Lincoln County emergency management team helps appropriate the funds where necessary and where needed.”
“Next year we are going to more aggressive, more ambitious. We are in the process of turning a retired ambulance into an on-site rehab,” Bullard said. The ambulance, once it is finished, will be used for a safe space where emergency crews can take a break or perhaps, even catch a few minutes of sleep. Bullard is currently working on this project with the support of local emergency management teams including OSS.
Through all of Bullard’s efforts and the response of the community, they have been able to raise a few thousand dollars this year. “It will always be in my heart, the work I did as an emergency responder. My comrades and all volunteers will always be in my heart. All of us always did the best job we could. Sometimes we were more successful than other times. I love what I am doing now as well. It is for the volunteers that keep us as safe. I am proud to have served, and I am proud of those that still do,” Bullard said.
Even though Bullard is now retired, he spends as much time as possible serving his community while playing his music and takes the time to travel now and then with his wife seeing the sights the Southwest has to offer.
Bullard’s love for music goes way back to when he was in Elementary school. It was then that he made his first appearance on stage at a talent show playing guitar and singing. “Elvis was my hero back then. My inspirations have always been Elvis, George Straight, and Allan Jackson,” Bullard.
“We play to a full house every time. It is a free event and the funds raised come from donations. It is a kind of a ‘fill-the-boot’ event. It is really for all our emergency members, respondents, of Lincoln county,” Bullard said.
“I want to thank Cree Meadows Country Club for allowing us to be there, to perform there, to raise money for such a worthy cause. They do not charge us and I thank them all for doing this for us. They have been such an enormous help and service to us,” Bullard said.
The final performance will be at Cree Meadows, 301 Country Club Drive, September 1, at 6:30 p.m. It is suggested that those that wish to attend call ahead and make a reservation as the event will sell out fast. It is a family friendly event, and children of all ages are welcome. For further information call 575-257-2733 or contact Bob Bullard on his Facebook page.
Copyright 2018 Ruidoso News