This month, we’re highlighting Remarkable Women in our communities — including one who’s going above and beyond to serve.
Terri Philion is an active member of the Minot community.
She donates most of her time to non-profits in the area, like the Optimist Club that she was once president of.
“At the end of the meeting we all stood up together and I remember feeling like, ‘This is crazy. What is happening right now?’ And we read the Optimist Creed as a group and I got kind of choked up because I loved what it said, ‘To promise yourself, all the things,'” Philion said.
While there, she’s been involved in some pretty big projects.
“We built the playground literally with our own hands at the Domestic Violence Crisis Shelter. And, when you pick rocks with a group of people in the rain, they become your people,” said Philion.
She was also a part of the Big Give Campaign where they donated $50,000 to the Souris Valley Animal Shelter.
“To be able to drive by it now and see that we helped make those dreams come true, literally gives me goosebumps!” said Philion.
But her service doesn’t end there.
She’s also involved with Women United, Junior Achievement and the Community Leadership Institute.
This, all in addition to a role with the Souris Valley United Way. She was the 2020 Campaign Chair.
“It’s touched my family in ways, you know, when there were times that we needed a hand up, they were there for us. I’ve always believed that when you get to a place where you can return the favor, and maybe it isn’t with a big check, maybe it’s with your heart, or your hands or your time,” said Philion.
“One of the things that Terri was really passionate about was our Dolly Parton Imagination Library. She really kind of spoke about that and talked about it to a lot of people, which is good because that program is widely used but not widely supported,” said Rich Berg, executive director Souris Valley United Way.
And her hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Terri is such a go-getter. She is ambitious and excited to get involved in whatever she can,” said Heather Cymbaluk, past-president of the Optimist Club.
“Terri is just one of those people, that she’s involved in lots of things. It’s important to her to be out there and kind of shaking and making different things happen in the community. It’d be nice if we had a lot more people like that,” Berg said.
“Hearing the ‘thank yous,’ it’s not why you do it. But sometimes when you just get stuck in that rut of, ‘Why do I do this?’ Because you’ll have those moments when you’re like, ‘Ugh, everybody else is’ or, ‘I could be doing this, but instead, I’m volunteering here.’ It’s nice to be reminded,” said Philion.
On top of volunteering, she’s also a mom, teaching her kids the importance of lending a hand.
“When that’s how you’re brought up, then that’s what you do when it’s your turn,” Philion said.
Despite all of the challenges she faced in 2020 — from losing a loved one, to a flooded hotel and her son battling a rare disease — Terri reminds herself to find the positives in every situation.
“It’s always important to look at all the blessings you have,” Philion said.
That’s just one reason Terri Philion is remarkable.
In 2019, Philion also started ‘Minot Magazine’ with one of her friends. It tells stories of people in the community who are doing great things.