Shonda Bullard got what she wanted, a beautiful Saturday morning.
With one parent holding one Outstanding Defensive Player trophy and another holding the other seated in the back of a pickup truck, the Javon Bullard Day Parade commenced onto Hancock Street in downtown Milledgeville under that clear blue sky. In between the awards was the parade’s namesake, the University of Georgia safety who made a national name for himself in leading the Bulldogs to victory in both the College Football Playoff semifinal (the Peach Bowl — not too far away at Mercedes-Benz Stadium) and the National Championship Game (a little farther away in L.A.).
Now, Bullard will have two rings as well as a national champion. He collected a few more honors from his hometown Saturday, a key to the city and proclamations from both the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County Board of Commissioners.
The parade took a temporary break at Milledgeville City Hall as the Bullard family joined governing officials and a hoard of local supporters for the special presentations.
“On behalf of the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners, we present a proclamation to you, Javon,” said Commissioner Kendrick Butts. The proclamation recognizes how Bullard graduated early from Baldwin High and joined the University of Georgia program before spring practice of 2021. “(He) became the first Milledgeville resident in 35 years to sign with the University of Georgia straight out of high school … making history being the only football player to ever make two interceptions in a national championship game. Therefore, the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners do hereby recognize Javon Bullard for his outstanding accomplishments with the University of Georgia.
“You mean more than that to us … more than a football player. We’re here supporting you as a family and a community. You are an inspiration to all of us however your career ends … after you get this next championship, we’re looking to get a Super Bowl ring. We are going to be behind you no matter what.”
Next was Milledgeville Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan.
“Javon Bullard began to develop his natural athletic ability at Baldwin High School under the guidance of coach Jesse Hicks,” said Parham-Copelan as part of the mayor’s proclamation. “Javon Bullard brings great pride to our community through his academic and athletic achievements. It’s proper and fitting to highlight an individual who has brought positive recognition to Milledgeville and continues to give back to his community.”
She went on to proclaim Saturday, March 11, 2023, as Javon Bullard Day. With that, she promised another gift, the key to the city.
“We are more than proud of you,” she said. “You will continue to do great things. I’m looking for you to continue to be that spotlight.”
She also thanked Shonda and James Bullard, Hicks and Baldwin School Superintendent Dr. Noris Price and her team for guiding him.
“We are going to help continue to raise up and make sure Javon goes further,” she said.
“It means a lot to me and my family,” said Javon in his thanks to all in attendance. “I’m so grateful to see ya’ll. Words can’t describe how happy I am just being with ya’ll. This city is like family and always has been. I love each and every one of ya’ll.”
The parade was led by Baldwin High athletic director Dexter Ricks and included members of the current Baldwin High football team, the Braves’ marching band and the dance team from Oak Hill Middle School.