LUMBERTON — Jude Bullard Jr. says he couldn’t have chosen a better place to do volunteer work than Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton.
“When I retired from the Department of Transportation in 1997, I knew I wanted to do something to give back to society,” he said. “I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I wanted to do something.”
“At that time, I knew a couple of the volunteers who worked here at the hospital and they told me I should try it,” said Bullard. “So I tried it and I stayed.”
More than 15 years later, Bullard said much of his time as a volunteer at the hospital has been spent walking the “coffee route,” a job he cherished because it provided him an opportunity to come in contact with so many different people. He said for the past six months he has been assigned as a greeter in the hospital’s Patient Registration Department, a job he also finds fulfilling because of the people he meets, talks with and helps get around the hospital.
“I meet a lot of people and enjoy talking,” said Bullard.
Currently, Bullard can be found volunteering his time and energy for a few hours every Thursday.
“Mr. Jude Bullard is a blessing to me when I work with him on Thursday’s in patient rRegistration. He loves to help the patients in any way that he can by walking them to their procedure locations or just talking to them to encourage that everything will be all right,” said Demesha Jones-Simmons, who like Bullard is a greeter. “Mr. Jude is very wise and has encouraged me at times. His smooth walk and demeanor brightens up my day when he volunteers.”
Bridget Jones, another volunteer who works regulary with Bullard, agrees.
“How honored and blessed I am to work along with Mr. Jude Bullard. He displays much compassion, and thoroughly enjoys all that he does at Southeastern Health,” Jones said. “He is an important part of our Southeastern Health family and we so very much appreciate him and his services.”
“Our volunteers are precious treasures and Mr. Jude is a real gem,” said Jones. “He is so very willing to escort patients, family and assist anytime.”
Hospital patients, such as Kelly Townsend of Lumberton, look at volunteers like Bullard as an important asset to the hospital.
“Volunteering is a great way to serve and give back to the community,” Townsend said.
In addition to his hospital work, Bullard, a lifelong resident of Pembroke, is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; a member of the VFW post in Pembroke; a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War; and a member of Masonic Lodge 417.
Bullard, who has been married to his wife Freida since March 1975, said he tries to stay involved with activities and programs of his church, Prospect United Methodist. He also said he tries to visit elderly people in his community as much as possible.
Bullard doesn’t plan to leave the coffee route any time soon.
“I hope to continue to work here at the hospital for some time to come,” said Bullard. “With the Lord’s help I will stay.”
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.