Submitted by his parents
Phillip was only 19 years old at the time of his death but had already achieved more than many people twice his age. He decided to join the Fire Department in the summer of 2002 between his senior year of high school and entering college. Once he joined he went at it like he did everything else in his life. Wholehearted and ready to run when the pager sounded. His father spoke to the chief and asked shortly after how he was doing in the department and he said ‘I wish I had 10 more just like him. He’s not the kind of person who comes out and says I want to do this. Instead Phillip says: ‘What have I got to do to learn to do that.’ Most young men don’t have that attitude.’
In 2003 Phillip was named Firefighter of the Year by his peers at Vann Crossroads. He was described as the one that you could count on. ‘When you were at the station waiting for help 9 out of 10 times you would be waiting on Phillip’ said Chief Jamey Jones. When you would go to the station to wash the trucks many times Phillip had already been. Phillip was that way about everything he did at school or work. He did it all the way all the time.
Before he joined the Fire Department he was a student at Hobbton High School in Newton Grove. He played the tuba in the marching and concert band. He was on the student council and was Vice-president of the FFA where he received awards in Forestry‚ Truck driving‚ Poultry and other areas. He also served as a Governor’s Page during his Sophomore year.
Among his peers at school‚ church‚ and work he was the one everyone depended on. He was the one who would make you laugh with something he said or did. He was known as the Class Clown. Always serious but always looking for the lighter side of life. Wanting everyone to be as happy as he was. When you would meet him he would have a shy grin on his face‚ sort of sheepish‚ but always kind and sincere. The kind of young man that mothers loved and fathers enjoyed. The kind that when he called on their daughters they trusted him to be honorable. Many mothers said ‘I always felt good about my daughter being with Phillip. I knew I could trust him.’ Politeness goes a long way‚ Phillip learned early in life. Many adults would brag to his family‚ ‘He is such a polite young man.’
Shortly after Phillip’s death parents were telling stories of how Phillip would try to encourage his friends when they would ask him to go somewhere they shouldn’t be. Phillip was known to say‚ ‘I have no business there and you don’t either‚ what you should do is come go with me instead.’ Always holding on to his values and Christian background.
He also was an assistant manager for Smithfield Chicken and Barbeque in Newton Grove. His managers still speak highly of how great of a leader he was and that the company could count on him. His General Manager once said that Phillip was the kind of person that always gave 110% and had difficulty understanding why others couldn’t give as much as he did. In the summer Phillip also worked another full time job with Agri-Tech‚ where he spent many hours soil sampling and checking crops for different types of insects. There too he is well missed and still spoken of with much sadness.
Besides volunteering at the fire department he had joined the Newton Grove Rescue Squad where he had earned his EMT certification. Pulling calls and offering a kind word of encouragement to a patient is what everyone grew to expect when he stepped out of the ambulance.
Along with work he attended college at Johnston Community College in Smithfield where he was studying Science and intended to transfer to North Carolina State University. At the same time he was working on his required fire training and had received more than 238 hours of training and had already received his Firefighter I and II certificates. Just a few months before his death he had earned his red card to become eligible to be able to fight forest fires.
As you can see he kept a very full schedule and maintained a social life at the same time. His father was concerned about his busy schedule and advised Phillip a few weeks before his death to take some time off and relax for a week or so. Phillip responded back to him to say‚ ‘I have two weeks of vacation coming up and I am going out west for those weeks.’ His father has a brother in Texas and an aunt in Colorado so his father asked ‘where are you going to go‚’ thinking that he was going to Texas. Phillip responded‚ ‘I am going wherever there is a forest fire. That’s why I got my red card.’
To Phillip‚ helping others is what he was supposed to do. He spent many hours helping others and working in his local church‚ where he gave many hours and contributed much to financial and spiritual needs. He touched the lives of many in his short life and somehow managed to fulfill GOD’s purpose for his life in such a short time.
He left behind his parents Stephen and Belinda Hulen‚ a younger brother Matthew‚ and all of Clinton‚ NC. He was also survived by his Paternal Grandparents Norman and Patsy Hulen of Salemburg‚ his Maternal Grandparents Grover and Doris Sinclair of Clinton‚ several Aunts and Uncles and many cousins.