Jim’s Kids: North Carolina trucker leaves joyful legacy

| 1/29/2009

OOIDA member Jim Bullins, whose charitable organization known as “Jim’s Kids” was well known in the trucking community, died yesterday at his home in Sophia, NC, at age 68. He was an over-the-road truck driver for more than 30 years and in his retirement was deeply committed to helping families with special needs.

In the early ’80s, Jim founded Jim’s Kids, an organization helping to provide assistance children and adults with disabilities. Jim’s Kids held Christmas parties in December and July of each year and surprised many of the kids with necessary handicap devices that the family could not afford financially.

Jim’s son, Tim Bullins, told Land Line that although his father was ill with lung cancer, Jim was still able to host his annual Christmas party for Jim’s Kids in December. Tim Bullins added that his mother, Mary, and the Bullins family still plan to host the annual July 2009 picnic and gospel music concert.

In the past, friends recall that those benefit events grew to sizable gatherings, full of joy and music.

“Jim Bullins was a great man who helped a lot of people and will be sadly missed by us all,” Vicky and Joey Holiday of Truck It Records said in an e-mail.

OOIDA members Diane and Ron Smith – aka Granny and Snuffy – were old friends, too, who regularly attended and participated in the festivities for the cause.

Stories about Jim’s Kids and the efforts of Jim Bullins appeared in numerous trucker magazines as well as People Magazine and Reader’s Digest. Jim received the 1993 Governor’s Award, 1996 Trucker’s Jamboree Award, 1997 RPM Magazine Extra Mile Award and 2000 Asheboro Rotary Club Good Samaritan Award.

The organization began with a birthday gathering for the first “kid.” His annual Christmas party started out with about 12 attendees and then grew to as many as 600. In 1998, NBC News sent Tom Brokaw and a crew to cover the annual Christmas party for NBC Nightly News. It was a proud moment for Jim.

Survivors include his wife, Mary King Bullins, of the home; daughters, Teresa Lynn Bullins, of Asheboro, and Rebecca Diane Bullins, of Sophia; sons, Tim Bullins, of Goldsboro, NC, and Larry Bullins and wife, Tiny, of Sophia; sisters, Hester Collins and Joyce Cornelison, both of Asheboro; grandchildren, Rebecca Lynn Mitchell, of Asheboro, Amber Dawn Cranford, of Asheboro, James Lee Vance, of Sophia, Richard Allen Vance, of Randleman, Jennifer Renae Bullins, of Sophia, Larry Matthew Bullins, of Asheboro, Miranda Blair Jarrell, of Sophia, Samantha Beth Trogdon, of Sophia, and Heather Thompson, of Thomasville; three great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends at Ridge Funeral Home from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009.

Memorial donations may be made to the Jim Bullins Memorial Fund, c/o Randolph Bank, 109 West Naomi Street, Randleman, NC, 27317.

– By Sandi Soendker, managing editor