Maryann Bullen: Volunteering Provides Purpose
By Loretta Rodgers
For Aston resident Maryann Bullen, volunteering has become a way of life. And for a time, after the death of her husband, Bob, it was her lifeline.
“I was extremely depressed after the death of my husband and didn’t want to go out or even move from my sofa,” Bullen said. “We had such a wonderful marriage that I didn’t know what to do without him. We started dating when I was 14-years-old, so when Bob died, I lost not only my husband, but also my best friend.”
Bullen said, it was her son who suggested she get involved at St. Joseph Church in Aston and that proved to be the first step to her renewal and the change in the direction of her life.
“I decided that sharing my life with my community was important and that there are a lot of lonely people who need help,” Bullen said. “Volunteering really helped me find my way back.”
Currently, Bullen is a lector at St. Joseph Church. She is also a member of the hospitality committee and prepares the linens for mass. She serves on the Christmas Bazaar committee as well as the pastoral council.
In Aston Township, Bullen is probably best known as chairwoman of the Aston Community Day committee, where she plans and organizes the township’s annual get-together, which draws thousands of residents and their families to a day-long event, which includes a parade, business expo, food court, rides, and activities.
“I was asked to chair the community day committee in 2008 and even though it is a tremendous amount of work, it is worth every single minute. The members of the committee are incredible people who are dedicated to the community and making it better. It is so rewarding to see our Aston residents enjoying themselves and as I said, the people with whom I work are just amazing.”
Bullen is also a member of the Aston Township Vision Plan committee and board member of the Aston Township Memorial Garden committee, a role which is near and dear to her heart.
“It is such an honor for me to be on the Memorial Garden Committee because my deceased husband is a Vietnam Veteran,” Bullen said. “I believe that our veterans deserve so much respect for all they gave to our country. And, for many, especially the elderly, who are unable to get to the cemetery, the Memorial Garden has provided them the opportunity to pay their respects to the fallen. It is really a special place.”
Bullen is a member of the Post #926 women’s auxiliary, vice-president of the Delaware County Library Board, an Aston Republican 4th Ward Committeewoman and she is also on the Delaware County Women’s Republican Committee. For her work, she was awarded the prestigious Golden Elephant award for her dedication.
Born and raised in Brookhaven, Bullen attended Our Lady of Charity School, Brookhaven Jr. High School and is a 1969 graduate of Sun Valley High School.
She moved to Aston Township in 1976 with her husband and the couple proceeded to spend many years raising their two sons, Bobby and Jamie. Like most parents, she was involved in the PTL and attended sporting events.
The couple are the proud grandparents of eight, of whom Bullen says she “dearly wished her husband could have seen.”
“I really have been blessed with a lovely family,” Bullen said. “My sons, daughters-in-law, and of course, my grandchildren, are my life.”
Bullen was employed for more than 35 years as a certified pharmacy technician at Pathmark in Brookhaven. She also worked at Taylor Hospital and Penn Tech Home Infusion.
“I retired from Pathmark after spending 35 years there,” Bullen said. “During that time, I met so many wonderful people. The pharmacy customers became like family to me and I am so excited when I see someone from that time in my life. It was so nice to talk to the customers and get to know them.”
In addition to her volunteer activities, Bullen enjoys spending time with friends, and of course, her 95-year-old mother, Brookhaven resident Louise DeVirgilio, who retired a few weeks ago from her job as a greeter at K Mart in Brookhaven; a job she has enjoyed for 20 years.
Bullen said she strongly believes in volunteering and suggests everyone spend time helping others.
“It’s not about getting recognition for anything,” Bullen said. “Volunteering has done so much more for me than I could ever repay. I am very satisfied with my life. When a person suffers a tragedy, it changes you. You never know what people are dealing with in their personal life, and it’s important to keep that in mind. I thank God every day that my son suggested I become involved.”