JACKSONVILLE, N.C. -- Life outside of the Marine Corps can sometimes be tough -- trying to find a job, working different hours, and the change from servicemember to civilian alone can be a big change. However, Bambi J. Bullard proved it could be done.
Bullard hit the civilian world running when she saw an opportunity and went with it. Bullard is now the proud owner of Coastal Paintball USA, which includes three different paintball fields; she is also a major contributor to the paintball industry.
After several years of service to her country, Bullard was medically discharged because of a rare bone disease she developed in her legs. Medical physicians told her she may not ever walk again, but with the help of her mother and sheer determination, she found the strength not to give up.
"When I was diagnosed with the bone disease, everyone told me that I would probably never walk again," said Bullard. "But I never gave up. The Marine Corps gave me the courage and mental strength I needed to continue to strive. Here I am today walking and running three paintball fields."
After being discharged from the Marine Corps, Bullard wanted to find some form of income, but also wanted to be in a recreational environment.
"I wanted to do something that would keep me active," said Bullard. "Something that would keep me moving and working on my legs but also something where I didn't have to stand up all the time."
Bullard started her paintball career in 1991, with a 50-acre field and a military locker filled with 20 paintball pistols that she paid a total of $80 for.
"The pistols I bought are now worth more than four times the amount I paid for them," said Bullard. "They are like antiques in the paintball industry."
Since the start of her one-man business, Bullard has been able to branch off and open three paintball fields in the Eastern Carolina region.
"I now have a total of 16 different playing areas throughout the three fields, varying from field environments to arena type playing fields," said Bullard.
Along with owning her own fields, Bullard also rights and edits a section for the Action Pursuit Games magazine called Tournaments 'N' Teams.
Bullard also sets up tournaments on her fields here.
"Sometimes when I look back on everything I've accomplished so far, I am amazed. I mean who knew," said Bullard.