What do you say about a gentleman who’s served his community faithfully, diligently and selflessly for 40 years?
Apparently, a lot.
Last week, the Oxford Village Council presented a special seven-page resolution to longtime resident Joe Bullen. It honored him for the four decades he spent on various boards – including the council, planning commission, zoning board of appeals and beautification commission – and the time he served as a consultant to the village.
Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth was tasked with drafting the resolution, but she freely admitted she “failed” in her mission.
She said looking back through all the records pertaining to Bullen’s lengthy career “was exhausting.”
“I found that many of the things I would have written, have already been said,” Helmuth explained.
In light of this, she decided to get comments from folks who know Bullen and have worked with him over the years.
“I think they have said it better than I ever could,” Helmuth said.
Contained within the resolution were comments from 12 individuals, including past officials, employees and consultants.
John DuVal, who served with Bullen on both the council and planning commission, admired his “calm, deliberate approach to sometimes dramatic issues.”
“I learned much from your leadership . . . Surely, I wasn’t the only one,” he said.
Don Brantley, superintendent of the village Department of Public Works, said “commitment” is the word that “comes to mind” when he thinks of Bullen – commitment to his family, his country, his village, his church, the Christian school basketball teams he coached and “the lives that he touched and influenced.”
“When I hear Joe Bullen’s name mentioned, I always think of a kind, thoughtful man of integrity, and a wonderful teacher,” said Linda Smith, former village treasurer.
Kevin Rulkowski, former village clerk, assistant manager and acting manager, said that Bullen provided him with “invaluable managerial guidance and wisdom that I still use to this day.”
“It was a pleasure to work (with) and learn from him,” Rulkowski said. “Joe told me once that after working for the village, I could always say I was educated at Oxford. Thanks to Joe, I feel no truer words were ever spoken.”
After reading a few of the comments, Helmuth noted there were “so many other people” she tried to contact and this resolution “could have gone on for days.” She called Bullen “a main artery of the heart of the Village of Oxford.”
“Thank you for your heart, your wisdom, your patience and your devotion,” Helmuth said.