The Harding University Veteran’s Association (HUVA) recently presented a check of $2,500 to Searcy police officer Michael Bullock and his five kids after the unexpected passing of Carrie Bullock, wife and mother, on Dec. 13, 2015.
In addition to being a police officer, Bullock is a member of the Arkansas National Guard and has served two tours in Iraq. During his military career, he was a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom II and a patrol officer in Baghdad, Iraq. Bullock was deployed for his second tour shortly after being hired by the Searcy Police Department. He resumed his position as a police officer after his second tour in 2009.
Senior Jimmy Cooper, the current president of HUVA, said after the organization learned about the Bullocks’ situation, members immediately agreed to start a fundraising campaign for the officer and his five children.
“When we saw that his wife had suddenly passed away, we knew there was an obvious need there,” Cooper said. “Not just because he is a veteran, but because he’s a servant to our community.”
HUVA started its campaign to raise funds for the Bullock family the second week of the 2016 spring semester. Senior Brittney Garringer, who manages HUVA’s public relations and secretarial work, said several campus organizations made the project a joint effort.
According to Garringer, HUVA partnered with Harding University in Florence director Robby Shackelford through his “Be the Difference” movement, which raises awareness for veterans’ needs. HUVA used the funds collected from the “Be the Difference” group along with funds from a bake sale to aid the family.
Garringer said students and faculty from the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program and several women’s social clubs helped sell donuts and collect funds.
Shawn Fisher, assistant professor of history and social sciences and faculty advisor to HUVA, also created a GoFundMe page online which allowed people outside the Harding and Searcy communities to donate money.
“We’ve got a lot of members (of HUVA) who are alumni of Harding, and some are in various places and actively stationed outside of Searcy,” Cooper said. “The GoFundMe (page) was another way for people to help and contribute.”
HUVA raised a total of $2,500 and presented the amount in a check to Bullock in early March. Bullock said he was overwhelmed at the support he received from HUVA.
“It’s been surprise after surprise with the support coming out of the community,” Bullock said. “It was unexpected and one of the most generous things I have received throughout this entire ordeal.”
Bullock said he and his family are in the process of purchasing a new home, and he is planning to use the money to buy playground equipment for his five children.
“I hope I can put the money to the best possible use I can,” Bullock said. “I figured getting something the kids would enjoy for a long time would be the best thing to do with it.”
HUVA is planning to help Bullock with the transition to a new home, according to Cooper.
“We’re going to help him move and put together his playground for his kids,” Cooper said. “Having that common goal — that’s what we do.”
Anyone interested in learning more about HUVA or campus veterans’ affairs can contact Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fisher at email@example.com.