Every year, THC honors the efforts of one volunteer that has gone above and beyond in their service to the families we serve. This year, on our 25th anniversary, we are thrilled to honor a volunteer who helped to create THC and has been involved ever since, Phil Hecht. We asked Phil a few questions about himself, and here is what he had to say!
Tell us about yourself. I am the proud father of two children, David and Elizabeth. I grew up in the Midwest and am close to my family. I have lived in Washington, DC since 1980.
What motivated you to help start THC? I have been acutely aware of the great divide between rich and poor in our city, and its impact on families who often found themselves homeless. As a member of Christ Lutheran Church, I was fortunate to have fellow members who wanted to do something personally to address this chronic problem.
How have you been involved with THC? I served on the Christ Lutheran Church committee that voted to establish THC in 1990; I served on the board of directors from 1990 through 2014; I was board president from 2000-2003; I served on the board of THC Affordable Housing from its inception through 2014; I was also president of THC Affordable Housing board.
What are your most memorable experiences volunteering with THC? My most memorable experience was hauling dirt bucket-by-bucket out of the unexcavated basement of Partner Arms 1(PA1) in 1992 with Dorothy Armstrong, who was in her late 70s at the time. Another memorable experience was participating in late-night “reconnaissance” missions to abandoned apartment buildings, flashlight and crowbar in hand. Fortunately, I was never injured or arrested.
What have been the most challenging moments volunteering with THC? Perhaps the most challenging time was in the very beginning, when we did not yet own PA1 and no bank would even talk to us about loans. Some board members doubted we would ever be able to fulfill our mission. St. Paul’s Rock Creek played an important role in enabling THC to acquire and renovate PA1.
Why is THC important to you? With its focus on families and, in particular, children, THC will help to end homelessness in the next generations of the families we currently serve.
What is your vision for Washington, DC? A city where everyone has an affordable place to live.
What do you like to do for fun? Running, refinishing furniture, listening to music.
Talk about an inspiring or transformative moment in your life. The birth of my two children, and the grand openings of Partner Arms 1 and 2.