Apr 12, 2003 7:12 AM
|Current Issue: Thursday, April 10, 2003
PC alumnus killed in Iraq
Remembered as dedicated and driven
By Lauren Wholley
When Brian McPhillips '00 was a student at Providence College, he would ride his bike off campus and occasionally attract the attention of neighborhood kids. One ten-year-old boy was so taken by Brian's bike that he asked to ride it and, luckily for him, his college friend was more than willing to share. Unfortunately, the bike was built for a twenty-year old and the young boy could not seem to get the hang of it.
McPhillips wanted to make sure that the boy got another chance to ride a bike, so that week, he went to the dump in search of a smaller substitute. When he chanced upon an old bike frame, he quietly began to restore the bike to working condition. He spared no expense in making the bike look new again, with a paint job, tires, pedals, and a seat.
The next time McPhillips went riding in the neighborhood, he rode the refinished bike, keeping his eye open for his young friend. When the boy saw the new bike and asked for a ride, McPhillips gave him more than that - he gave him the bike.
According to a Marine Corps-Press Release, 1st Lieutenant Brian McPhillips, from Pembroke, MA, was killed in action on Friday, April 4, 2003 while serving in Central Iraq, assigned to the 2ndTank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. Despite the great sense of loss felt by many in the Providence College family, he will be remembered by his friends as a man of heart and dedication, whose commitment to serving his country and the ideals that it upholds was as natural as his abilities in business and leadership.
Jonathan Miller '99 believed that the bike story was the perfect anecdote to describe his friend because he felt it embodied everything that McPhillips stood for: love, devotion, and modesty. "Brian didn't let very many people know about that bike...but those who were close to him knew," he said.
Miller and McPhillips met in college while they were assigned to Meagher Hall as Resident Assistants. According to Rev. Kenneth Sicard O.P., Dean of Residence Life, McPhillips was an active member of the PC community during his four years, as he devoted much of his time to the student body as an RA. "He was one of the best RA's we've ever had...the kids loved him and respected him," Sicard said. He explained that Brian had such a desire to remain connected to his residents that he chose to stay in the traditional dorms, where he would have more interaction with the guys.
For this reason and many others, McPhillips was not the typical RA. He brought an extra energy and excitement to his position. "He liked to treat his floor as if they were soldiers. His guys loved him for it," said Miller. Ian Holder '99, Fennell Hall Director, and a fellow fomer RA in Meagher commented on McPhillips personality, "He was one of those gung-ho people, always upbeat."
Joe Belgiovine '03, who was under McPhillip's wing as a freshman resident in Aquinas Hall, agreed with Miller and Holder about his RA's penchant for taking the authoritative role to another level. "He was a leader by nature, he looked out for us. He went out of his way to make sure that we learned, but also enjoyed ourselves. I remember it was raining and a bunch of us had a test to study for, but Brian said 'Let's go, everybody up, we're playing football outside'," he said.
Despite McPhillip's seemingly energetic demeanor, Belgiovine also described him as a responsible, big brother figure. "One time we had a dance or something to go to and he made sure there was an ironing board in the bathroom, made sure there was starch in there for us. That was just him," he said.
Father Sicard said that because of McPhillip's kind and responsible attitude, he "used to tease Brian and tell him that he would be a good priest." Belgiovine added, "There was something about him that made people around him feel like there was nothin
|A very sad event but ...||Live Steam|
Apr 12, 2003 8:40 AM
|hopefully he is in a better place now. Maybe it is true that Hell is here on Earth and that those that are truly angelic and giving get to go to the better place on the other side sooner as a reward for their kindness and caring, though those that are left behind will miss him. It is a shame however, that the good he would obviously would have shared and contributed to the welfare of society, will be missed as well.|
|That was nicely said. Thanks. nm||sn69|
Apr 12, 2003 10:20 AM
|Thanks Scott.||Live Steam|
Apr 13, 2003 11:52 AM
|I am always saddened when I hear about someone with so much to offer and who obviously gave a damn, is lost either in some senseless act on the streets of some inner city or in this case, serving his country and performing his duty as he was trained to do. It always makes me stop and reflect upon the nature of our existence. Why is it that some person that can give so much back to society, someone who makes it better, gets killed in a freakish accident such as the crossfire of some hateful person, and that hateful person, who will never be a positive force in society, comes away unscathed? It is depressing unless I put a positive spin on it. I believe that the departed person is actually being rewarded for their deeds and gets to go to the better place sooner. What else can it be?|| |