When 2024 arrives in Hagerstown, Bob Bullock probably will no longer be the person with the longest service as a town employee.
Bullock has been the town building commissioner for 32 years. The Town Council planned to hire his replacement, Terry Ford, on Monday, Oct. 2, effective Oct. 10. The town asked Bullock to stay on until Dec. 31 to train Ford.
Two professional organizations which Bullock has served for many years have honored him. Bullock has been a board member of each.
On Sept. 13, at its annual conference, the Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management presented him a lifetime membership, signified by a water drop-shaped glass desk ornament and a certificate in recognition of his contributions and service.
The Indiana Association of Building Officials has presented him two awards. In 2022, it honored him and his late wife, Peggy, with its Earl E. Bowman Award for Meritorious Service. In 2018, he received IABO’s Nick Nicholson Education Award for his work in teaching code classes or serving on committees involved in the group’s educational programs.
Bullock has had several roles in town government along with building commissioner, a part-time position that pays around $10,000 annually. He works weekday mornings from a small office in Town Hall and does building inspections or other duties in the afternoons.
As building commissioner, he enforces building and zoning regulations in the town and a two-mile fringe area outside of town in Wayne County.
“I’ve got a code book. I go by that code book,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re my father, my brother, I gotta go by the code book. I’ve gotta treat you the same.”
He serves separately as building officer for the town of Greens Fork.
Town Council President Becky Diercks said, “Bob has served the town in a myriad of capacities and we were very fortunate to have someone who was willing and able to do so for nearly 55 years. That doesn’t happen very often.”
Early next year, he will mark 55 years as a volunteer firefighter in the Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Fire Department. From 1982 to 2021, he served as the department engineer, keeping logs of his work on the engines, testing the pumps every month, changing the oil and keeping other equipment in good shape.
“I told them, I’m 85 years old. I ain’t climbing under them trucks anymore,” Bullock said.
Town Manager Chris LaMar said, “All of our town employees have a great deal of respect for Bob and we think of him as a grandpa! Bob possesses a great amount of historical knowledge about the Hagerstown community, including its infrastructure, structures and families.”
But on Jan. 1, 2024, if all goes as planned, he will be doing something completely new for him: looking for a job.
“I’ve been telling my friends you might go into Walmart one day and see me there,” Bullock said, admitting that he can’t imagine a day without a job. “They’re saying I’m retiring. I’m saying I’m stepping down. I’ve seen many of my friends from Dana retire and be gone after a year.”
Bullock started delivering a daily newspaper at age 10. In 1957, he began working for Perfect Circle Corp. (which became part of Dana Corp.), shortly after his graduation from Richmond High School. In 1982, he moved to Hagerstown and became the resident caretaker at Girl Scout Camp Wapi-Kamigi.
Bullock served 20 years as a reserve police officer for the town and 17 years as a reserve deputy for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. He installed electrical gear and wiring in town police vehicles.
Bullock spent eight years in the Army Reserve and worked as an emergency medical technician for Culberson’s Ambulance Service.
He has worked for the town since 1991.
“I love the town, I love the people,” he said. “I’ll do anything I can for the people. They treat me right and I treat them right.”
A version of this article appeared in the October 11 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.