Senior in Action –Becky Bullard

Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.

Re: photo taken in front of the waterfall:

The waterfall picture was taken at Mendenhall Lake in Alaska when we took our boat up


Senior in Action –Becky Bullard

By Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen

Question: Becky, if you don’t mind, please share your age.

Becky: “I’m a Scorpio who just turned 73 in November 2023.  I was born in Los Angeles, but we moved to Whittier where I was raised.   I graduated from La Serna High School, then attended Rio Hondo Community College where I studied to be an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse).  After I received my LVN certification in 1970, I practiced in hospitals from 1970-1984.  In 1984, my husband Rocky fell off a tanker truck at work, and broke his back in three places. I quit working to be his full-time caregiver for the next fourteen years until his death in 1998.”

Question: What would you like to share about your family?

Becky: “My father was my hero.  He was a firefighter, and he told me, “You can be anything you want to be.  Don’t let anyone stop you.”  My mom’s mother told me the same thing.  I am only 5’1”, and she said, ‘Becky, you’re short but don’t let that hinder you.  There is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it.’”  My personality in high school was quiet and shy, although I sang in the choir for four years.  You can still get me to sing karaoke without much coaxing.  My husband Rocky (aka Myron) was the stepfather to my two daughters, Cindy and Carrie by a previous marriage.  Over the years, our daughters expanded the family to four grandchildren who in turn birthed five great-grandchildren.  They live nearby in southern California so we’re able to get together for holidays and volunteer together.

Question: How did you become so passionate about helping Veterans?

                 Becky: “My father-in-law was a first sergeant in the Marines.  He and his wife were active volunteers in the American Legion, and I volunteered with them beginning in 1974.  Rocky didn’t want me to join, because he was afraid I would become super involved, leaving less time with him. I didn’t become a member of the American Legion Post Auxiliary until 1999 after his passing.  My father and uncles were in the U.S. Navy, so I feel a great appreciation for veterans and their families.  Some of the hospitals I worked in as an LVN were psychiatric hospitals, and I saw first hand how devastating PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) could be.  I advocate for veterans and children.  Growing up now is much different.  Kids feel lost.  They need parents who listen to them instead of staring at cell phones constantly.

At the American Legion, we have some inspiring programs to connect young people with their leadership potential.  They can become Sons of the American Legion or Juniors of the American Legion Auxiliary and accrue service hours as volunteers.  Or they can apply for a scholarship by entering our Oratorical Contest about the U.S. Constitution. Or, they can participate in Boys or Girls State once they are in high school.  I go to the local high schools in May and interview students for this leadership opportunity every year.  The 19 District Auxiliary hosts a tea for the girls who are selected in the district and their parents.  Boys and Girls State is a week-long leadership training each June, and I have seen teens transformed by their experience at the Capitol in Sacramento.  For more information, visit

                  My husband was right, I am super involved in the American Legion Post Auxiliary.  Every Sunday, I coordinate a hot breakfast for our local veterans at the Norwalk Post.  I organize a sufficient number of cooks and collect the cash.  In December, we collected toys for Camp Pendleton military families.  This year, I made three trips to the base with my Ford Edge SUV packed with toys.  Our Auxiliary also participates in the City of Norwalk’s patriotic Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day celebrations and the Angel Tree Program.  Recently, the American Legion Post Commander surprised me by presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joe Biden, for my “lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service.’ It warms my heart that my oldest daughter Cindy and my two grandsons, Tanner and Nick, also volunteer at Norwalk American Legion Post #359.

Question: What hobbies keep you busy in your spare time?

                  Becky: “My time is mostly spent volunteering, but I have six small senior dogs of varying breeds that need more love and reassurance now that they’re old. My husband and I cruised together to Alaska, and the Caribbean, and traveled to London, England.  I am a fan of wrestling, and have taken my grandchildren to several WWE wrestling matches.  On a WWE Cruise, I met the wrestler Big Show, who is 7 feet tall and weighs 383 pounds.  He was so gracious and down-to-earth in person – a great experience!  I have a tattoo of another wrestler, The Undertaker, on one side of my chest and a female dragon on the other side to celebrate being a breast cancer survivor since 1997.  My back is also tattooed, and I attended Ink Slinger Expos in LA and Pomona when my tattoo artist was alive to promote his artistry. “

“I love listening to music of all kinds, and our family has fun seeing movies together.  I play various games to keep my brain stimulated.  In the past fifty years, I’ve evolved from my quiet high school persona.  I am more outgoing.  I have NO problem speaking my mind, although I try not to hurt anyone with my words or actions.  But watch out if you step on me the wrong way.”

“I recommend that seniors stay involved!  Find something you can do, and keep your mind and body going.  Don’t stop, don’t quit, or you’ll start to deteriorate.  My daughters tell me to slow down, but I refuse.  Life is short, and I’m going to keep serving veterans as long as I live.”

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