Name: Philip (Phil) Campbell
Residence: Bowral, New South Wales, Australia
Profession: Corporate Communications Manager for the New South Wales State Emergency Service
Are there any websites, twitter IDs, or other social media information you want us to promote? I’m on Linked in, plus you can mention the NSW SES website www.ses.nsw.gov.au and the EMPA website www.emergencymedia.org
What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? Why do you enjoy them? I love to bushwalk, cycle and snow ski. I’m especially interested in trekking and doing the world’s great walks. I’ve done the Milford Track in New Zealand, the Inca Trail in Peru, the Overland Track in Tasmania and walks in the UK and Colorado. I’m keen next year to walk with friends in the Pyrenees in France.
When did you first hear about the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama? Around 5 years ago when I vainly googled myself. Since then I wanted to visit the town and was delighted to get the opportunity.
Were you able to attend the Phil Campbell Hoedown of June 2011? Yes, and I wish I had made more time to experience the hospitality and to help out.
What did you think of the experience? There were many highlights. I work in the emergency services and I see the effects of disasters all the time. To see a town so badly damaged by a tornado and to witness the way in which the town has fought back proved to be very inspirational. In my line of work I time and again get to see the spirit and resilience of people affected by natural disasters where people have lost everything and the people of Phil Campbell have shown themselves to be among the most determined, resilient and committed people I have encountered – very inspirational.
I was also very moved by the hospitality of the town – they had lost so much but they still found time to give – of their time and themselves, to help us Phil’s have a great time.
Finally, I thought the work done by Phil Brooklyn in organizing the Phil’s was outstanding as was the work by some of the other Phil’s to help make our visit happen and raise money for the town. A very humbling experience.
You are a Phil Campbell. What do you think of that name? Interestingly I am adopted, my name prior to adoption was Johannes Drew Eikenbrok as my father was Dutch and my mother English. So I am Phil by adoption – literally! So I could easily have been called another name. Some people are born to Phil Campbellness and others, like me, have it thrust upon them. I’m proud to be a Phil Campbell, proud of my Phil Campbell brothers and sisters and what we have done to help those in the tiny town that bears our names.
Tell us a little about yourself, as many words as you would like. I’m a pretty average Australian guy, married with three children and a collection of dogs and cats. I’ve always liked to help people, having been Parents and Citizens President at the local High School and branch secretary of my preferred political party for some years. That’s possibly why in the jobs I have held I’ve been drawn to roles where I could help people or the planet – as a High School teacher, Waste Management Officer and for the past ten years, with the State Emergency Service. That made wanting to help the town of Phil Campbell and going there an easy decision.
I love the outdoors and cycling and bushwalking are favourite pastimes, along with spending time with my family.
I also love to travel and will definitely be visiting Phil Campbell town again, where I look forward to meeting the wonderful townsfolk again and seeing the fruits of their hard work in rebuilding.