Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mourning a great loss, Phillip Simmons

As our celebrity culture mourns sensationalizes the deaths of celebrities this week, I have learned of the loss of a truly inspirational figure and craftsman, Phillip Simmons.Phillip Simmons

I cannot do Mr. Simmons' story justice, so I will ask you to spend a few minutes at the Phillip Simmons Foundation website to read about an amazing man. His story begins:

"Born June 9, 1912 in Wando on Daniel Island, near Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, where he was reared by his grandparents. At age 8, he was sent to Charleston (via the ferry), to live with his mother on Vernon Street and enroll in the first class at Buist School.


While walking to and from school, young Philip noticed the ironwork and became intrigued with it. The neighborhood was a Mecca for craftsmen who serviced the waterfront businesses..."

I hope that has you intrigued enough to read more of his story here. While I first learned of him as a blacksmith, his achievements and his influence reach well beyond his craft. And we have not only lost Mr. Simmons, we may lose his shop, too; the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Simmons' home and workshop in Charleston, SC as one of eleven most endangered historic places in America.

I will leave you with Mr. Simmons' favorite quote, they are words to live by regardless of your beliefs:

"If you want your prayers answered, get up off your knees and hustle."