Generous community volunteer earns SCJ Cares Award

The Thurston County Chamber Foundation’s Math for Life program is just one of many ways SCJ Cares Award-winner Dan Phillips serves his community.

Dan Phillips’s motivation may have changed over the years, but his dedication to volunteering remains steadfast.

In high school, he remembers the motivator for cleaning the town offices being ‘Senior Privileges,’ which was going outside during study hall. And he donated blood because the post-donation snacks were so good!

Dan and SCJ colleague Ross Jarvis at Rebuilding Together Thurston County in August 2020.

Today, Dan’s reasons for volunteering go deeper. “I volunteer because it really makes a difference. I have never volunteered for anything where I felt like it was a waste of time. Even if there was no great result to show afterward, there was comradery with the people you volunteered with, and showing someone that you care about them hopefully uplifts them.”

No doubt Dan has uplifted many. His volunteer list is long and includes MATHCOUNTS, Read Around Lacey, Math for Life, Rebuilding Together Thurston County, the Timberland Library, his church, Hope Village, and activities for his three children. “Dan’s compassion also sparked him to organize a ‘drive-by’ parade in June for a colleague who was having a serious surgery the next day,” says SCJ Alliance CEO/President Jean Carr. “So many people showed up, the neighborhood was in gridlock!”

It’s compassionate deeds like this that earned Dan, a design engineer, the SCJ Cares Award. “Dan is a wonderful example of the values we hold close and why we are so pleased to recognize him with this award,” said Jean.

Serving with Habitat for Humanity in 2008 in Bangalore, India is one of Dan’s favorite volunteering memories.

Upon receiving the award, Dan reacted, “I’m pretty surprised. I feel like I just kind of do stuff that other people organize. And I wasn’t the only one.”

One of Dan’s fondest memories volunteering is from 2008. He spent six weeks with Habit for Humanity in Bangalore, India, building small, one- and two-room houses out of brick. The brick was hauled by oxcarts, the mortar mixed in a hole in the ground, and the future homeowners helped with labor. “I really enjoyed seeing how much was still done without mechanization, but by people. It put into perspective a lot of the luxuries that we enjoy as part of our everyday life here.”

Dan and wife Andrea Kunder with their three kids at Green Lake, Mount Rainier.

Even with COVID the last nine months, Dan has found ways to serve others. For the second year, Dan led an SCJ team for a Rebuilding Together project. Replacing a unique sized door, updating skirting, and caulking windows were all done for the grateful homeowner through Dan’s preplanning and leadership. In August, he also helped his wife with a virtual Timberland Regional Library event, using Zoom to connect for experiments in their own backyard.

The coronavirus may keep us from doing a lot of things, but it’s not stopping Dan from serving others.

6 Comments

  1. Very inspiring!

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  2. This dude is a role model!

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  3. We are so grateful for your work with Rebuilding Together! You are an amazing man!

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  4. You should be proud Dan!🥰

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  5. Nice going cuz!

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  6. This is great, Dan. The Bangalore involvement got me wondering – have you or any other SCJers done anything with Engineers Without Borders?

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