Steve Phillabaum says he knew at an earlier age that he wanted to commit to military service.
Steve and his twin brother both joined the military not long after. They grew up watching their grandfather, who was a Bronze Star, and was on the battlefield during the bulge of War World II.
Phillabaum was in his early twenties when he went off to war, right after 9/11. Thinking about it now, he says he still gets chills.
Phillabaum says he’s glad that the mission was a success and they made it back safely.
“I think back now about it- and what does a 22-year-old, somewhat educated, maybe physically sound person do when they are going off to war,” Phillabaum said. “That day I remember it was cold, taking the ship out to sea and for the first few weeks it was pretty standard ship driving, it wasn’t a big deal.”
“But once we got in the combat zone, things changed,” he recalled.
Now that he’s retired and has these experiences, Phillabaum has spent his time into giving back to the community. He serves on the board of directors for the non-profit group, Veterans Group.
They are a transitional homeless shelter that provides for more than 40 men in Philadelphia.
Phillabaum has seen homeless veterans on the streets of Philadelphia.
“I got involved with the veteran’s group, which is a transitional home for veterans that typically have an issue with addiction, alcohol, drugs, opioid abuse, you name it,” he said. “They saw it, they have been living on the streets of Philadelphia, so it’s home, a very nice area, it has room for 40 guys.”
Phillabaum will continue to give back to the community of Philadelphia and hopes that veterans will come for help.