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Eunice Phillips - Citizen of the Year

posted May 29, 2016, 10:29 AM by Ned Peirce   [ updated May 29, 2016, 10:30 AM ]
The Ellsworth American has honored one of our own - Eunice Phillips as "Citizen of the Year" on May 16, 2016.

Eunice Philips - Ellsworth American, 5/16/2016
May 16, 2016 by  on NewsNews-Featured

HANCOCK — Although Eunice Phillips is not a “true” Mainer, Hancock’s 2016 Citizen of the Year is the closest thing to the real deal.

“I think that there are a lot of people more deserving than me,” Phillips said modestly when presented with the award May 10 at the Hancock Town Meeting.

The Citizen of the Year is selected by a committee made up of former Citizens of the Year as well as the Board of Selectmen, the fire chief, the Security Patrol and other residents.

The committee nominates individuals and their merits are discussed and then it selects one person.

“The person must be living at the time of nomination and you must have done some sort of recognizable service to Hancock,” said Town Clerk Toni Dyer.

The award was presented to Phillips by writer Sandy Phippen, who said Phillips has not been idle in retirement.

“In her 27 years as a year-round resident, Eunice has accomplished a great deal for our town as well as the whole local area,” he said.

Phillips summered here as a child with family and extended family, riding her bicycle around Hancock Point, running about in the woods.

“It was wonderful,” she said.

Then summer work intruded and soon she was at Columbia University Nursing School in New York.

The medical world was not foreign to Phillips. Her father was a pediatrician and her mother a bacteriologist.

She worked for four years at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where VIP patients such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor were among those treated.

Four years later, through an introduction made by her mother, Phillips returned home to Elmira, N.Y., and began teaching nursing at the hospital there.

She retired from that position in 1989 and moved to her home in Hancock full time, but continued to work for 10 more years at Summit House, at the time a nursing home in Bar Harbor.

Phillips has been an active volunteer in a wide range of endeavors.

She was a volunteer nurse for the Ellsworth Free Clinic, served as president and secretary of the Hancock Woman’s Club and was a board member and president of the Hancock Historical Society and is now vice president.

Phillips helped establish and manage the “Meals for Me Dining Room” for seniors from 1999 to 2008.

She was chairman of the Town of Hancock Democratic Committee for six years.

In 2001, Phillips initiated and hosted candlelight services for the victims of 9/11 — the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers — at the Monument Lot in Hancock.

“She also initiated the placement of a Christmas tree in the gazebo at the Monument Lot in 2005 and continues with the able assistance of Sally and Peter Bryant,” Phippen said.

Phillips has been treasurer of the yearly Santa Fund since 1995 and was a facilitator and guide for an Elderhostel program in the area that focused on Maine geology, wooden boat building, fishing and tourism.

“On Hancock Point, she was chairperson of the Tennis Committee of the Hancock Village Improvement Society from 1991 to 1996 and continues to be a member of the Club d’Hiver, the purpose of which was to do service for the community and to ease the winter doldrums,” Phippen said.

Phillips also is a dog lover.

One of her two schnauzers, Cricket, is a therapy dog at the Pediatric Cancer Center in Brewer, Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and Seaport Village and Courtland nursing homes in Ellsworth.

Phillips said pet therapy is taxing for the animals.

“They’re absorbing all the stress and angst of the patients,” she said. “The dog senses emotions much more easily than we do.”

With Pat Hodgkins she raised money to purchase two pet resuscitators for the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department. The breathing bags have cones suitable for cats or dogs.

Master Pip, the second schnauzer, is an agility dog — training to run complicated obstacle courses competitively.

Phillips is not difficult to miss in town.

She drives around in a Volkswagen with the license plate, “Uni-Bug” — a combination of her nickname and a throwback to her former VW “bug.