Michael Phillips

When people say that HTC really cares about students, they’re right. Just ask Michael Phillips, a student in the Medium/Heavy Truck program, who lost all his belongings when an apartment fire in August 2011 left him with just the clothes on his back. Literally.

Thanks to an HTC Foundation Student Crisis Grant, his story has a happy ending.

“I walked into class the day after the fire with all I had left in the world,” says Phillips.“ That was a T-shirt, shorts, flip-flops, and my wallet. That’s all I had.” Looking back now, he remembers his conversation with his instructor, Dale Boyenga.“ I explained that I’d be missing class for a few days and he told me, ‘We’ll work with you. Don’t worry about it.’” Later that day, Boyenga called Phillips with some encouraging advice: Come to the college and see about getting a student crisis grant. The HTC Foundation funds the grants through donations designated for that purpose. In fact, many HTC retirees give specifically to help students facing an emergency.

“Usually, student crisis grants are about $250,” says Jeanne Morphew, HTC director of development and alumni relations,“ but I told Michael to figure what it would take to cover his expenses.” Since student internships are a large part of the Medium/Heavy Truck program, Phillips knew he needed clothes to wear to interviews, in addition to the work boots and clothing he needed for hands-on classwork. He completed the grant application, asking for $2000. “A couple of hours later, Jeanne called and told me it had been approved and that my check was at the front desk,” says Phillips, a native of Texas who served nine years in the U.S. Navy prior to attending HTC.

Michael Phillips

“It was a huge relief to know that I had money to stay in the program, buy clothes and get back on track,” says Phillips. That same week, he had an interview at I-State Truck Center in Blaine, Minn., and since then he has been working 40 hours a week getting hands-on experience in overhauling engines and transmissions, servicing trucks, and doing all the things that will prepare him for a successful career when he graduates from HTC in 2013.

To show his appreciation for the HTC Foundation’s financial support, Phillips asked if he could attend the HTC retirees’ annual luncheon to thank them personally for the donations they make to help students like him. He spoke at that event and then was asked to share his story at the foundation’s annual fund-raising dinner and auction in October, where he explained just what the grant meant to him and to his future.

Listening to Michael Phillips, it’s clear that getting a great education at HTC is important, but the helping hand he got means even more.

Last updated by jhanson : 2016-08-18 15:54:08