20 for 20 Recipient

20 for 20 Recipient | Rob Bullock

Robert Bullock’s story begins in 2018. At the time, he was the Co-Director of Community Development for a Baltimore-based non-profit specializing in helping community organizations develop holistic approaches to health and wellness programs. It was all going great until the Executive Director announced their grant funding had not been renewed and the organization would have to shut its doors.

Around the time Mr. Bullock lost his job, he was informed by his landlord that he would have to move within a few weeks so the home could be renovated and sold. Luckily, a friend was able to offer Rob a place to stay just before his car broke down for good. Rob acted fast and found employment at a local pizza shop but his recent turmoil led him to a depressive state, which then led him to a battle with addiction. It’s true what they say: when it rains, it pours.

Looking at his life, Rob said to himself, “I have to free myself, I have to get out of here,” and entered a recovery program at Dee’s Place, a local organization that serves individuals seeking assistance in recovery from alcohol and other substances. “I had a real life, and it just evaporated so I let go of my material possessions, I just had to trust God and start over.”

Rob put in the hard work, spending months overcoming what life had thrown at him. During this time, Rob wrote his first book, “Emerge Addiction: A Journey through the Valley of the Shadow Death.” Rob hesitated to publish his work, fearing that he had not progressed enough in his own recovery to give advice to others. One day a friend and mentor said to him, “Rob, you’re being selfish. We all fall down, get back up, and fall back down,” and encouraged Rob to share his story. “It’s been amazing cause people from all over the world are reading it. People I don’t know have been buying it and my whole point was to sell one book and help one person.”

Rob found Vehicles for Change thanks to his connections to Living Classrooms. With the help of Ms. Christina at Dee’s Place, Rob began the process of receiving an awarded vehicle. Not long after, Rob received a job at Amazon in Sparrows Point, Maryland. He was reliant on public transportation to get to work, spending two to three hours on the bus in the morning before his 10-hour shift, and another few hours getting home each evening.

Then, as it always does, life happened. At a routine physical check-up, Rob received news that the heart murmur he was born with was routine, but his tiredness could not be blamed on his age. After months of tests and consulting with surgeons, Rob underwent open-heart surgery to repair his mitral valve. We are happy to say that Rob is now on the road to recovery and feeling much, much better.

Rob is an eternal optimist despite everything he has endured. “There are only two ways to look at things: You either A – kick your foot on the curb, rustle the grass and say ‘woe is me,’ or look at it and say, ‘This is time for me to work on myself and spend time with my family.” He’s looking forward to 20 for 20, and the financial stability his awarded vehicle will bring him. “It’s not just a car, man, it’s way more than that… it’s the difference between an entrepreneur and being stuck in my house barely being able to get around.”

Rob is looking forward to life after receiving his vehicle, he’s already got a lot of plans. He hopes to someday return to non-profit work and make a real impact on the community. Outside of work, he’s looking forward to starting a channel on Youtube and an upcoming feature with Roku TV related to his book. Most of all, Rob is looking forward to being able to visit his friends in Berlin, Maryland, his sister, and his niece. When COVID-19 has finally subsided, Rob plans to visit Harpers Ferry, the Inner Harbor, and attend church services.

So, how does Rob feel about being a part of 20 for 20? He is ecstatic. “This means hope,” he says. “But that’s not summing up how I feel. It means mobility, it means opportunity, and it means freedom. You’re not stuck. Even though you have all the skills in the world, but it doesn’t help you if you can’t get around. It means mental and spiritual clarity, familial connection. Financial growth.”

And to our friends at Heritage | MileOne AutoGroup, Rob says you are all impact influencers.  “You’re magnifying people’s potential… sometimes we have to plant seeds to grow trees that bear fruit, and I’m someone who will bear fruit.”