VFW Post 7800 presented Harry Bullins, age 81, of Madison, N.C., with an award on Feb. 28 that was created just for him: the first Bull Dog Award.
He was nominated for his dogged determination in performing his duties as Post Service Officer; for his tenacious dedication to service to veterans, despite the fact that his own health was often worse than the health of those he visited.
Thirteen days after Harry was presented the award, he succumbed to health problems. His death was the only thing that could stop him from visiting fellow veterans, his fellow post members say.
Bullins used his own money for the framed letters of appreciation, small flags, and personal care kits he brought to veterans. He could no longer drive, but Bullins turned his disability into a multiplier. His driver, a family member, helped with the Buddy Poppy drives and at the county fair.
Before his death, Bullins shared an experience with VFW Post 7800 Quartermaster and Adjutant Leroy Jones. Bullins visited a veteran confined to bed at a nursing home. When presented with the certificate and flag, the man became emotional, and said that no one had ever thanked him for his service.
When Bullins left the room, the man was hugging the framed certificate. Bullins went to visit other veterans at the home, but as he passed the man’s room on the way out, he noticed that the veteran was still hugging the certificate.
“It means so much to many of the veterans spending their days alone in their rooms for someone to visit and let them know their service to the country is appreciated,” Jones wrote.
Bullins had been at every Poppy drive, and was a driving force behind the VFW Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy, Teacher of the Year, and Scout of the Year competitions, Jones said.
“He was truly a bulldog and set an extremely high standard in dedication to the VFW and service to others,” Jones wrote in a press release. “The dedication and attitude Harry [brought] to the post is an inspiration to others.”
VFW Post 7800 Commander Robert Fain, left, presents the first-ever Bull Dog Award to Service Officer Harry Bullins. Bullins died 13 days later. (Photo by Leroy Jones)