Heroes Among Us: Charlie Philips

Jim Hill nominated Charlie. (Source: WALB)
Jim Hill nominated Charlie. (Source: WALB)
Charlie dedicates his time to building wheelchair ramps for folks to get in and out of their homes freely. (Source: WALB)
Charlie dedicates his time to building wheelchair ramps for folks to get in and out of their homes freely. (Source: WALB)

MITCHELL CO., GA (WALB) - WALB and Montlick and Associates are recognizing the heroes among us.

Each month, we will spotlight an active duty man or woman, or veteran, whose service for our country goes beyond the battleground.

Charlie Philips served in the Navy for a little over three years.

When Charlie served in World War II, he said he took it one day at a time, appreciating every sunrise and sunset he was able to witness.

And now, at 94 years old, Charlie helps others see the beauty he sees in this life.

His laugh, his wisdom, and most importantly, his heart, are all reasons why Charlie is a true hero.

"I can just say that he's one of a kind.  He's a heck of a man," said friend and nominator Jim Hill.

At 94 years old, Charlie is not your ordinary retired veteran.

He continues to serve, long after his years spent serving in the Navy in the 1940s.

Now, over 80 years later, he's building ramps for handicap folks to get in and out of their homes freely.

Whether he's digging, or hammering, he's an inspiration to everyone he meets.

"When we get to feeling a little down or a little sore, we look over at Charlie, and he's still going," said Hill. "And we say, 'That can't happen.  We have to stay up with this guy.'"

Charlie credits genetics for his work ethic and ability.

"I guess I'm just blessed with the right genes or whatever you want to call it, to be able to do something like this," said Charlie.

But we all know it's more than that.  It's his giving heart.

Charlie said the ramps he builds are more than pieces of wood nailed together.

"It's a whole new life," said Charlie. "They can get out, and move around on their own. And that's a whole new world for them. And I get a lot of pleasure out of seeing them have that opportunity."

Charlie cherishes the freedom to get out and explore this world.

"I know to me, if I was cooped up in the house all day, I don't think I'd be around very long. I really don't," he said.

That's why he hasn't stopped exploring.

From when he served in the Navy as a young man during World War II, participating in the Normandy Invasion, to moving back home to Georgia, traveling across the region, building 1,400 wheelchair ramps with his ramp crew.

"I don't feel that I'm anymore of a hero than anybody else that serves.  They're all heroes as far as that goes," said Charlie.

Although Charlie may not recognize his impact on the world, it's easy for us to see why he's a hero among us.

"He's just a very giving person," said Hill. "He's one of those guys you say, 'He's tough, but he wouldn't hurt a flea.'  He's just a fantastic person."

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