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Behind the Humble Hero

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Phillip Blanks

On the morning of July 3, Promise Scholar and Kalamazoo Central High School alumnus Phillip Blanks caught a three-year-old boy who was thrown from the balcony of a burning apartment in Phoenix, Arizona. Although the act garnered nationwide attention, Blanks remains humble. When asked what was going through his mind prior to catching the toddler, the answer was simple.

“My instincts kicked in and I knew that I needed to help,” he replied. “I was aware of what was happening and stepped in when I was needed.”

A natural response when you consider his background. During high school, Blanks was a standout wide receiver that the Maroon Giants could rely on for a clutch play, but he would soon find himself in an integral role with a different team.

“During my freshman year of high school, I received a sticker from a United States Marine Corps recruiter, and I put it up in my room where I could keep my eyes on it,” he recalled. “I always knew that being a Marine was something that I was going to do.”

With a goal in mind, Blanks enrolled at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) before enlisting.

“Being a recipient of The Kalamazoo Promise allowed me to take classes at KVCC and get some schooling under my belt without any debt,” he explained. “From there, I was able to enter the Marine Corps and receive a promotion because I had an education.”

During his four-year stint as an active Marine, Blanks gained confidence and the readiness to act. These attributes would prove to be crucial for his life after the service as he eventually landed in the security sector working in executive protection.

“It is important to help other people; that is why I am following this career path,” he shared. “I enjoy keeping others safe and being there when they need me.”

Eventually, Blanks would like to use the career experience he has gained to build his own international executive protection agency serving clients around the globe. Until then, he is happy with the life he has built in Arizona, serving those around him, and stepping up when there is an opportunity to help his community.

Your hometown is proud of you and your selfless attitude, Phillip. Keep up the great work!

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