Leo Phillips is a local man whose dedicated his entire life to give back to the Mandan community. He grew up with 9 siblings and has watched the city of Mandan change and grow. He recalls helping his father play neighborhood Santa as a child.

“My dad kind of instilled it in us, when we were young. We would drive around and drop stuff off at people’s houses. We’d run and hide and watch them, just to see the smiles.” said Leo.

Leo is active in many community organizations and has volunteered with the Mandan Progress Organization for about 10 years.

“The one thing I don’t see is the participation in the community anymore. Getting volunteers is very hard, getting people just to give a little bit,” said Leo.

The last year has been tough for Leo. Back in August he had a massive heart attack that resulted in his heart stopping but he barely missed a beat. Shortly after, he caught COVID-19 and then laryngitis but he knew there was still work to be done.

“They did revive me, so God was not done with me. So they revived me and within three days after surgery, I was ready to go again and they couldn’t believe it,” said Leo.

Leo has found joy in putting up the Christmas light display in Downtown Mandan for the past five Christmases. This year was no different, with the help of some local homeless volunteers, Leo spent over 100 hours decorating downtown Mandan.

“To see their smiles now, is my payback for what God has given me,” said Leo.

Leo is not only a father and grandfather, he’s also a neighborhood hero to so many families that enjoy the lights. There are about 66 displays to see.

The lights are located on West Main Street in downtown Mandan and typically are on at about 5 pm.