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Family members and friends of U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Brian McPhillips, a Pembroke native who died during the war in Iraq, honored his memory Oct. 8 by announcing an academic scholarship to Boston College High School in his name. McPhillips, 25 when he died, graduated from BC High in 1996.
McPhillips, who was assigned to the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., died during a firefight in central Iraq in April. After his death, he was awarded both the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart for his courage and dedication to duty.
"As BC High's mission is to train 'Men for Others,' we believe such a memorial to Brian at the Jesuit high school that helped shape his character is fitting," said McPhillips' aunt Barbara Fitzgerald in a statement. "We are most grateful to those who never personally knew Brian for establishing and contributing to the scholarship."
Through fundraisers and individual donations, the family hopes to establish a $200,000 annual full-tuition scholarship to help future students. Tuition at the school is almost $9,000 per year.
Family members kicked-off their fundraising efforts by running the Providence Marathon as “Brian’s Team” on Oct 12. Over $50,000 has been raised thus far.
"Brian's courage, leadership and service are values we hope to instill in all students at BC High," said BC High president William J. Kemeza in a statement. "The McPhillips Scholarship will help us to continue to form men like Brian, courageous leaders committed to lives of service."
After graduating from high school, McPhillips went on to study finance at Providence College, graduating in 2000. He was commissioned as a Marine Second Lieutenant in May of that year.
"After graduation from Providence College, there were lots of things that Brian could have chosen to do," his father, David, told The Pilot shortly after his son's death. "He chose the Marines. He chose them because he felt that it was his obligation, not just his duty [to serve his country]. He felt very strongly about that."
However, McPhillips’ father, a former Marine who fought in Vietnam, described his son as much more than a hero: “He was a generous and caring person.” He also touched upon his son’s religious faith, saying he had gone to war with rosary beads and a crucifix.
Donations to the scholarship can be mailed to the 1st Lt. Brian McPhillips Scholarship at Boston College High School at 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, Mass. 02125.