By James Locklear
WAKULLA – It may be an old cliché, but for Thomas Bullard there really is no place like home.
He has lived in the Wakulla community for most of his life and really loves the rural area near Red Springs. And, thanks to down payment assistance from the Lumbee Tribe, it looks like he will be there for a long time, right with his people.
The tribe gave Bullard $4,000 from its down payment assistance program to help him purchase a new mobile home. He was thrilled at the news when he received a call to pick up the check on April 18.
“There’s nothing like staying at home,” Bullard said. “It’s a good area over there and I’m not trying to get too far away from it. I’ve been there most of my life. I love the people there.”
Bullard bought a lot near the home he grew up in Wakulla on Oxendine School Road at the intersection of N.C. 71, about five miles south of Red Springs. He has pleasant memories of his childhood home.
But, this young man has seen his share of difficulties as well.
He was just 5 when his father, the late Ronnie Bullard, was killed in a traffic accident in January of 1996. Growing up without his father was tough, but he said he got great guidance from his mother, Rebecca Bullard, as well as other relatives.
Bullard is 25. He is single and does not have any children. He said he has enjoyed living at home with his mother, but is ready to start buying his own home.
He is purchasing a three-bedroom, two bath doublewide mobile home from Vision Homes in Fayetteville. It costs $53,000. The new home is equipped with a spacious kitchen and living room that perfectly suits his tastes, Bullard said.
“I love it,” he said. “I can’t wait to get settled in. It’s always been a dream of mine to have my own home.”
Bullard is a delivery truck driver for Coca Cola. He stocks the popular beverage in Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly and at Walmart on a route that includes Pembroke, Maxton and Red Springs. He has been with the popular soft drink company for three years.
He said he had been saving money in hopes of building a home, but couldn’t quite afford to build.
One of his uncles told him about the tribe’s down payment assistance program.
He visited the tribal complex in Pembroke where he met with Kathy Locklear, the financial education/housing manager for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. She explained the process and he went to work gathering the documents he needed to apply.
Bullard applied for the assistance on April 8. He received his check 10 days later.
“I came in and got a list of stuff I needed – and – I got my credit score right,” Bullard said flashing a wide smile. “I really appreciate this. There’s nothing better than helping someone get on their feet. The tribe really helped me a lot and this is helping me to be more of a man to grow my life.”
For more information, visit the Lumbee Tribe’s website at lumbeetribe.com or call (910) 521-7861.
James Locklear may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 536-3918.