Caring for His Community, With the Help of a Company That Cares

Milestones

The Walmart Pharmacy in Gonzales, Texas, is home to a living legend.

Bruce Blackwell smiling at the camera

Behind the pharmacy counter at Store 290 in Gonzales, Texas, you’ll find Mr. Bruce Blackwell, a Walmart pharmacist set to celebrate a momentous milestone: 52 years with the company. Bruce has learned a lot at Walmart, but he can distill five decades of experience with remarkable efficiency.


“I thrive on this: When someone walks in and says, ‘I wanted to thank you for helping me.’”


Change keeps coming

Bruce’s love for helping people heal has never changed, but just about everything else has.


“Technology has changed a ton,” Bruce says. “One of my first upgrades was from a manual typewriter to an electric one, so there’s been a tremendous movement to help pharmacy become more efficient and operate better!”


That movement remains underway today, and Bruce counts himself lucky to have seen the growth at Walmart pharmacies make lives better for our customers.

Picture of the front of a Walmart Pharmacy with a ballon arch and a board that reads "Celebrating 50 years of service"

“When I first got out of pharmacy school in 1970, you’d read all these predictions in the journals,” Bruce says. “You’d read that one day, pharmacists will be able to administer injections and prescribe things. I didn’t know it’d take 50 years, but we made it!”


In 2024, pharmacists stand at a critical juncture between communities and care. With programs like the one Bruce is referencing, Walmart’s Testing and Treatment, pharmacists can give immunizations and even write prescriptions.


Down yonder in Texas  

Like many of us, Bruce loves his community dearly. He says one of the greatest joys of his career has been the ability to help the people of Gonzales.


“I was just so lucky to be able to go to Gonzales, Texas, and have the community there open their arms and embrace me,” Bruce says. “Walmart has been able to do so many things to help people here. I can’t tell you the impact that $4 prescription list had. I’m in a rural area, and I had people that would come in and say ‘Bruce, this is just a godsend to me, because I can get my medicine and buy groceries now.’ Now that just really makes you feel good.”


Bruce believes deeply in the power of personal relationships with his patients. He says that “going the extra mile” is advice he’d give to any new pharmacist — to do more than stand behind the counter, but to get to know your community. You never know whose life you might change for the better.


Sticking with a company that cares

Bruce has stayed with Walmart so long because he believes in the company’s mission. And not just the save money part, but the live better part too. At the core of those feelings is a personal experience.


When Bruce made the move to Walmart, he was facing stage four cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. Then he got a call he’d never forget.


“In those days, when you transitioned to another company, your insurance didn’t necessarily transfer,” he explains. “In other words, I risked losing my insurance, because a new one wouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions. And I got a call then and I remember they said, ‘We won’t enforce that clause, Walmart will honor your insurance. You can come on with full coverage.’


“And that’s when I knew: This was a company that cared. That says to me, this is a company that has heart. So I paused, and I asked, ‘Where do you want me to go?'"

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