GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) — An Upstate community is rallying around one of their own whose family was devastated by COVID-19 and there’s a way you can help, too.
In less than one week, Tim Phillips lost his mom, dad and brother to COVID-19.
“You turn one way thinking you can catch your breath then you’re getting punched again,” Tim said.
The news spread fast through Gaffney, the Phillips’ hometown, and soon some longtime locals had organized an army of support for Tim.
But help came from some new faces, too: Mackie and Heidi Flood.
The couple runs Wing Etc. on Floyd Baker Boulevard. A mutual friend told them about Tim’s story and they knew they had to help.
“Just coming from a small town, it was touching to just hear the story without even knowing who the family was,” Mackie said. “You could just feel the love for the community that they had and that people loved them.”
“As much as people don’t think there’s still good in the world, there is a lot of good still,” Tim said. “People just chipping in, doing whatever they can to help out. You know, it’s been fantastic and amazing to see it firsthand.”
‘It’s an honor to be able to help’
Tim said his mom would drop everything to help anyone, that his dad knew everybody and everybody knew john.
His younger brother cleaned tables and welcomed guests at Zaxby’s for 15 years.
“He was dedicated,” Tim said. “He was loyal to his work.”
So loyal, in fact, that when Wings Etc. opened in the spring John wasn’t happy. The new chicken restaurant became his rival.
“Gaffney being a big football town, it was the Spartanburgs. It was the Dormans,” Tim said. “It was now the Wings Etc. across the street.”
But Mackie said there’s no hard feelings.
“Just having Tim tell that story this morning made my heart melt because it just showed that [John] had loyalty for where he worked,” Mackie said.
Tim now lives in Forest City with his wife and daughter. The Floods commute from Campobello. We were there as they met for the first time and soon the three strangers seemed like longtime friends.
But Mackie said he wants people to remember you don’t have to be a neighbor to act like one.
“It’s an honor to be able to help and not know him,” Mackie said. “That’s what a lot of communities need now, for people to help and not know.”