Bass Pro Shops is more commonly known as the place you go to for the latest baitcaster reel or pair of hip waders.
But Monday evening, the Hanover-based store for outdoorsmen and its general manager, Greg Bulkley, were recognized for something different — giving back to the community, specifically to veterans and individuals and children with disabilities.
For the efforts of Bulkley and his employees, Bulkley received the 2014 Jean C. Harris Award for Excellence, an honor that the Community Services Board gives to individuals who give back to the community.
Some may know that Bulkley’s store hosts one of the big charity events in Hanover County, “A Taste of Hanover,” which benefits organizations Hanover Arc and Hanover Community Support Services. They also host “Breakfast with Santa” every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve to raise money for Hanover Arc. The store offers another Breakfast with Santa for Hanover Arc families to enjoy on Sundays, when children can get their photos taken for free and spend time in “Santa’s wonderland.”
It’s another way for Bulkley, his employees and the store to give back, Bulkley said.
In November and December, the shop has a hot dog stand situated outside and all of its sales benefit Hanover Arc and Hanover Community Support Services.
“Those kids face so many challenges every day,” Bulkley said. “ You know, a little sacrifice on the part of everybody, it’s just a great thing to do at the end of the day to be able to give back to the community in that way to those different organizations and bring some light into their lives.”
Another group of people in the community that Bulkley and his employees support are veterans. Bass Pro Shops raises money and provides gear for about six organizations who assist and support wounded veterans and active military members. For instance, they help the non-profit Project Healing Waters, which works to emotionally and physically rehabilitate, through fly fishing, active and inactive disabled military personnel.
Bulkley attributes his ability to donate and help many organizations to the fact that the company allows its top employees to choose how much they would like to give back. Bulkley said he is able to establish and form his own connections in the county and figure out how to help.
Though Bulkley has supported many organizations since Bass Pro Shops moved to Hanover County roughly six years ago, he did not expect to be this year’s award recipient.
“It’s just humbling to be recognized [for] giving so much back,” Bulkley said. “Because quite frankly, I’m fortunate to be giving back and be able to give back.”
At Monday’s ceremony, last year’s award recipient, Patricia Thacker, said Bulkley follows in the footsteps of the late Jean C. Harris, who served more than 20 years on the Community Services Board and dedicated much of her life to helping others.
Thacker compared this year’s award recipient to Harris because many citizens were not aware of all of her community service.
“Like Jean, you’ll never know all of the great things she did and we will never know all of the great things that [Bulkley] does,” Thacker said.
For that reason and many others, Thacker said she nominated Bulkley for this honor.
“Like Jean, when credit is due, [Bulkley] gives the credit to his staff,” Thacker said.