When the Phillips family’s Tenino home was vandalized in August, the damage to a 1998 Chevrolet Silverado saddened Marvin Phillips the most.
The letters “KKK” were scrawled across the hood in red spray paint. The doors were damaged and wouldn’t close properly. The upholstery and dashboard were ruined.
The truck had been a gift from Phillips’ dying father in 2010, and he had hoped to pass it on to his own son one day.
Saturday, Phillips, his wife and children drove to the Northwest Chevrolet dealership in McKenna to bring home their beloved truck.
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Phillips was surprised to see that the truck hadn’t been returned to its prevandalism condition — it was even better.
“It’s even nicer than it was when I got it,” Phillips said.
The transformation was brought about by weeks of work and thousands of dollars in donations by Thurston and Pierce county businesses and a GoFundMe.com page. Keith Hillstead, a Northwest Chevrolet employee who organized the effort, estimated that between $3,000 and $4,000 of work went into the repairs.
The truck now has a shining navy blue paint job, a new bed liner and tires, properly functioning doors, new upholstery and tires, and a repaired dashboard.
It also has a CD player so that Phillips can play his favorite gospel CD. His wife, Sheryl Phillips, made sure to bring the CD so that Marvin Phillips could listen to it on the drive back to Tenino.
“The CD player was the only thing he asked for,” Hillstead said.
This isn’t the first time strangers have stepped up to help the Phillips family since the vandalism. Two dozen people — rallied by Tenino resident Heidi Russell — banded together to repaint the family’s home and repair the damage. The truck proved more difficult.
When Hillstead got hold of the vehicle, he wasn’t sure how to restore it.
“Looking at the truck, I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do with it,” Hillstead said.
He contacted his boss, who gave him the go-ahead to put some money into the project. Eight other businesses joined in, making the repairs a success.
Marvin Phillips said he was grateful to his entire community Saturday for coming together to make him and his family feel safe, for repairing his home, and for fixing his beloved truck. While no one has been arrested in the vandalism, Tenino police have been keeping an eye on the home, Marvin Phillips said. And, he feels more a part of the small, close-knit community than ever before.
“I’m grateful that you helped me keep something that I can pass on to my own son,” Marvin Phillips said.
“I want to thank everyone who helped us out, with our home and with the truck. Thank you everyone, I really mean it,” he added.