Over the summer, Douglasville teen Phil Powell was in the news for giving a homeless man the shoes off his own feet. Now, Powell is getting recognized for his selfless act by the Board of Education.
Powell, who is a senior at New Manchester High School in Douglasville, was working as a greeter at Wal-Mart when he saw the man sitting outside of the store with no shoes. Powell, who was once homeless himself, decided to help the man out.
“I was homeless from I think age 8 till age 18,” Powell told 11Alive. “I’m 18 now and my last time being homeless was last year, right around my birthday.”
Powell said people helped him when he was homeless, so he wanted to return the favor.
“I was turning 13, and there was this man at my church, and he didn’t actually know it was my birthday, but I had complimented him on his shoes, and he said, ‘Do you want them,'” Powell told 11Alive. “Most people just don’t understand, like, what something so little can mean to somebody else in their life.”
A shopper took a picture of Powell helping the man along with a picture of him back to work wearing only socks, which went viral, and the school board is taking notice.
“We appreciate Phil for shining a positive light on New Manchester High School, the Douglas County School System, and Douglas County,” school officials said in a statement. “We are proud that he is one of ours.”
Powell, who will graduate this spring, is planning on joining the Navy in the medical field so he can continue to help people after high school.
“My life is not the best, but at the end, I’m trying to make it the best,” Powell told 11Alive. “Whether I have something to give or not, if I see someone in need, I will always be willing to give.”