September 7, 2013

Citizen of the Week: James W. Phillips

— His neighbors describe him as “a good man,” one who served during the Korean War, one who is just a generally good guy.

James W. Phillips will celebrate his 82nd birthday on Wednesday.

As he’s ticked off birthdays over the years, he’s racked up many life experiences. As a young man, he was involved in the Korean War where he earned a Purple Heart.

When he came back home, he became Joy Bryson’s neighbor on a street in Tunnel Hill. She was just 15 then. Now middle-aged, she and her husband, Terry, both agree Phillips is a special person in their lives.

“He’s a good man,” Joy Bryson said. “He was a very loving husband; his wife passed away in April.”

Bryson said Phillips was recently saved in Christ.

With three children, Phillips apparently passed down his military background as two were in the armed forces themselves. Bryson said Phillips sometimes talks about his experiences in the war, and he talks about what happened when he and the other soldiers returned, but not in great detail.

Not unlike American soldiers after their return from Vietnam, Phillips and others were “treated awful when they got back,” Bryson said.

Since then, the tide of patriotism has shifted as most Americans publicly support military members, or at least don’t openly criticize them.

Nowadays, Phillips walks his dog, Pepper, a miniature schnauzer, around the block daily and is a regular fixture in the neighborhood.

“You couldn’t ask for a better person, you really couldn’t,” Bryson said. “He’s been a real nice man all my life.”

The Daily Citizen wishes Phillips a happy birthday this Wednesday and names him Citizen of the Week.