David Phillips didn't become a teacher until he was 40. "You know I was in construction and I was building buildings and now I am building lives."
Mr. Phillips was also in the Marine Corp, which prepared him well for the classroom. "It was excellent. It gave me discipline, that's probably the best thing was discipline. Respect. Responsibility, all the things we teach."
Principal Billy Bean says "He might be tough on some things, but he's got a heart of gold every single day that he walks into the classroom."
We found out about Mr. Phillips' big heart in a letter from Chase Lewis and his mom Becky. They asked us to say thank you to Mr. Phillips for being a friend and father figure to Chase after he lost his dad.
When we walked into his classroom Mr. Phillips was more than shocked. "Holy Cow I can't believe this! Wow! My hearts pounding a mile a minute here. Thank you. Never in the world have I had an opportunity like this. I'm overwhelmed."
David Phillips says he has a soft spot in his heart for single parents. Especially for a young man who lost his dad. "I was trying to be a father figure for one. And just to help him through a difficult time. I'm honored he wrote you."
David Phillips is a News 8 Golden Apple Award Winner. You can read the letters we got nominating him below.
Dear Channel 8,
My name is Chase Lewis and I would like to tell you about my teacher Mr. Phillips. He is the best teacher I have ever known. He even called me on a Friday night to let me know that I got a 100 on a science test. Mr. Phillips is very fair and he is always up to the challenge to help all of us learn.
Mr. Phillips served our great country from 1970 to 1974 as a Marine. Mr. Phillips has been teaching at my school for 18 years. He absolutely deserves The Golden Apple Award because of his total dedication to me and my whole class.
Dear Channel 8,
I am Chase's Mother Becky. Mr. Phillips has been a very big blessing to Chase and I this year. Chase lost his father at the end of the school year this past year. Life has been very difficult for my Chase, but Mr. Phillips has been watching over my son this school year.
My once "A" student started this school year getting 50's, totally understandable under the circumstances. But Mr. Phillips' total dedication and hard work has helped my son to again be a good student. Mr. Phillips is a role-model for my son and I couldn't think of a better one. Thank you for this awesome opportunity to try to give back to a teacher that gives so much of himself.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.