As It Happens

As it Happened: The Archive Edition - The Collections Episode

In 2011, Phil Campbell, who lives in New York, decided to gather all the Phil Campbells of the world for a Phil Campbell reunion. He even had the perfect place for them to meet: a town called Phil Campbell, Alabama.
Two men named Phil Campbell help to rebuild Phil Campbell, Alabama after a tornado hit the town in 2011.

In 2011, Phil Campbell, who lives in New York, decided to gather all the Phil Campbells of the world for a Phil Campbell reunion. He even had the perfect place for them to meet: a town called Phil Campbell, Alabama.

As he told As it Happens host, Carol Off in March of 2011, he'd first heard about the town on an episode of the TV show Hee Haw.

"I was so taken by the idea I had to visit it and when I visited Phil Campbell, Alabama, I was just so blown away that a town would have my name. I went and visited the city clerk and she showed me a file of all the Phil Campbells who had been through Phil Campbell, Alabama," said Campbell.

And at that very moment, he announced that he would try to bring back all the Phil Campbells to Phil Campbell.

Facebook and social media helped in spreading the word about the Phil Campbell reunion. Campbell estimates that there are at least 700 Phil Campbells in the world.

Campbell says each Phil Campbell has his or her own personality.

But before the Phil Campbells made their way to Alabama, the town of Phil Campbell was devastated by a tornado. That, however, did not stop the reunion. The Phils still made their way to Alabama, but they brought tools and helped pitch to rebuild the town. They also helped fundraise for the town.

And, at the end of the day, the Phils joined the townspeople and took part in the Phil Campbell Hoedown parade.

You can hear our interview with New York Phil, as well as these stories on this episode of As it Happened: 

A British woman collects thousands of gnomes and runs a gnome sanctuary.

The attempts to recover the art of Jewish art dealer Max Stern.

A museum in Easton, MA is home to a shovel collection.

A museum in Boston, MA is home to a dirt collection.

Ugly, discarded art is auctioned off in Detroit.

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