“My Friend, My Brother, Phil”

“My Friend, My Brother, Phil”

This is Memorial Day weekend. What is Memorial Day? It also has another name — “Decoration Day” — A Federal holiday in the US when we remember those who died while serving the US in the Armed Forces. We need to remember those who spilled their blood to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy in the US.

A week ago was the funeral, actually it was a celebration of life, for Phillip Ogan. I was Phil’s pastor for 10 years, and I truly loved that man. I so would have loved to have been there for his funeral.

Phil was born in 1927. He married his girlfriend, Eddie, and he left a week later for Korea. He joined the Army, and served for eight years. Phil served during the Korean War. When his battalion was under machine gun fire and many were pinned down, being wounded and shot to ribbons, Phil charged the machine gun nest with a load of grenades. As he charged up the hill, he was shot and wounded several times. Phil kept going until he threw the bag of grenades into the machine gun nest, then threw one more live grenade and took out all the enemy. Then, in his wounded state, he ran back down the hill,  grabbed his wounded friends, and carried them to safety. Amongst all his honors, he received the Purple Heart (several times over), and the greatest medal to be given, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

After the war, married life resumed. Phil & Eddie had one son born to them. Additionally, they adopted 12 orphans. Over the next 40 years, they were foster parents to 77 more kids! When Phil died, he left 22 grandkids, 36 greats, and six great-great grandchildren.

I asked Phil one day, “Phil why do you want your knees replaced?”  Without hesitation, he said with tears in his eyes, “Pastor, I don’t feel like I’m giving proper honor to my God, unless I’m kneeling. I need to kneel when I pray.”  Phil was one of the most giving, generous men I have ever known.

He was My Friend … My Brother … His name was Phillip Elton Ogan. They don’t come better than that humble man who would never show his medals. Jesus was his prize!

I Remember My Heroes,

Pastor Stan Rutkowski