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franklin county times

First ‘Canada Phil’ visits Phil Campbell, adds sign to post

Making his mark in Phil Campbell history as the 51st Phil Campbell – and the first from Canada – to visit the town, traveling 2,206 miles to get there, “Canada Phil” – or “Newfoundland Phil” –  was recognized in a ceremony in the town park May 3.

Newfoundland is the province in Canada where he resides in Stephenville. Campbell lived in British Columbia, the most western province in Canada for 25 years before returning to Stephenville, which is located on the west coast of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where he’s been since 2017. It’s a town he estimates to be of a population of 6-7,000, which he notes is the former home of a United States air base.

“It was an exciting day for the Town of Phil Campbell,” said Phil Campbell mayor Michael McQuary.  “We were pleased to have and welcome our first Canadian named Phil Campbell to town. It is amazing how many people are named Phil Campbell, and we are always ready to welcome them.”

Colin Philip Campbell received a certificate commemorating the occasion, and the customary “Phil” T-shirt, granting him honorary citizenship of the Town of Phil Campbell. Campbell said he felt “so honored” to be recognized in this way, noting some degree of “surprise” and a “little bit of shock,” which he described as positives.

“I’m so grateful to them for setting this up,” Campbell continued, referring to his cousins, the daughters of his father’s older sister. “This reception is overwhelming, and I’m honored to be here.”

His cousin, Patricia “Trish” Barnes” said she hadn’t seen him in 21 years when she found out he would be visiting.  “I called my sister and said we had to make this happen,” Barnes added.

Phil Campbell councilman Phillip King said he thanks everyone involved in the event, noting Campbell and his family were “overwhelmed” with the “outpouring of good ol’ Southern hospitality shown to them,” adding it was “a pleasure to hang another Phil Campbell sign in the park.” King took the chance to remind the community of Phil Campell’s upcoming annual festival. “We welcome everyone out June 21-22 to our festival as we continue to see it grow and get bigger and better each year.”

McQuary said the town will have their second Canadian Phil visit next month. “We will have our second Canadian in June at our festival,” he added. “It means a lot for the town to have these people come and visit. It helps get the town recognition so others will want to come and visit. We are very proud of our town and our heritage.”

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