He and his twin brother bonded while playing with Army men toys.
They grew up to learn more about their father and grandfather who served in the United States Military. It wasn't long before they joined, too.
"I was never the number one best at anything," Phillabaum said. "But overall, I knew that I had some very strong character behaviors and skill sets and routines that would help me take care of what I had to do to protect, defend, and make sure that America remains free."
As a veteran Navy Surface Warfare Officer, Phillabaum spent years leading United States sailors and Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Now that he's back home in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, he is always searching for avenues to help other veterans.
"The driving force behind me continuing to assist and help veterans is really continuing a life of service," he said.
That's why Phillabaum, 39, serves on the board of the non-profit Veterans Group, a transitional homeless shelter that provides for more than 40 men in Philadelphia.
There, veterans have their skill sets workshopped, their educations reinvigorated, and their stomachs filled.
"It's more about veterans helping veterans because a lot of us have figured out a way to get there," said Phillabaum. "Let's make sure that we leave no one behind and project that through future generations."
Phillabaum is also the treasurer and co-founder of the Philadelphia Veterans Parade, which is planning for its sixth annual event this weekend. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade will be limited to a mostly virtual event.
Viewers can watch the parade live on 6abc this Sunday, November 8 at 12:30 p.m.
Not only does it aim to give veterans a worthy celebration, but it also highlights various programs available to local veterans and their families.
To learn more, visit their website.
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