SPENCERVILLE — People at sporting events in Spencerville recognize Bruce McCullough as the best salesman for an arm’s length of 50-50 tickets.
At 6-foot-9, the man everyone calls "Shorty" gives people a pretty good deal with his measure of tickets for $5. In 15 years, he raised more than $50,000. He’s a former Booster of the Year for the school.
“With his arm’s length, that’s a big selling point,” said George Cox, of Spencerville. “But that’s the genius of Shorty. Everybody got the same thing. You’re not increasing your chances if everyone gets them from him, but everyone wants to buy them that way, and they raised more money.”
McCullough, one of the local winners of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, has a similar arm’s length worth of accomplishments since moving from Lima to Spencerville in 1993. The area’s representative to the national awards in Washington, D.C., will be announced Tuesday.
He does it despite suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, which led to his medical retirement.
“You can’t just sit around and feel sorry for yourself,” McCullough said. “You have to get out and do stuff.”
McCullough began volunteering at 12, working with YMCA youth programs. He helped introduce girls basketball to the Spencerville Youth Athletic Association. He led efforts to build a modern track around the football field and bring a bridge to the soccer fields in Spencerville.
He also volunteers to spend time with elderly residents and watches for seat-belt use as part of a grant.
“He has volunteered in recent years to conduct most of those surveys and has probably seen more people without their seat belts buckled than anyone else in the county,” according to a commendation from the Lima-Allen County Safe Community Coalition.
A retiree from the Lima Refinery, he also served on its Refinery Action Club, volunteering with Safety City, area hospitals, children’s Christmas parties, equestrian therapy programs and fishing derbies. He taught CPR for the Red Cross and helped on a team that responded when families lost homes to fire or other disasters. He also raised money for the new library in Spencerville.
As a booster, he raised money by redesigning the program to create new advertising positions and obtained hole sponsors for the golf outing. He also raised money for the baseball concession stand. He’s the current president of the Spencerville Service Club.
“My wife tells me sometimes I need to volunteer around the house a little more,” said McCullough, smiling, who said his family was extremely supportive of his philanthropic efforts.
He really shines as an organizer and fundraiser, said Cox, a former Jefferson Awards winner himself who worked with McCullough to raise money for the Veterans Park in Spencerville.
“The biggest thing about Shorty is he says, ‘What can I do? Is there something I can do to help?’” Cox said. “That’s his attitude. He’ll take the time to do it. He really does a good job at everything.”
For McCullough, it’s a matter of giving back to a community and stand out in the crowd in your own way, not that it was ever hard for a 6-foot-9 man nicknamed Shorty.
Now he’s focusing on raising money for the Bearcat Strength and Conditioning Center and bringing a senior visitation program to the area in Florida where he spends his winters. He’s also interested in finding a way to fight human trafficking.
“I was born to volunteer. I really enjoy it,” he said. “Volunteerism is really slacking off. There are so many places you can volunteer. I really encourage people to volunteer.”