Last year, MassMutual celebrated the inspiring people who looked out for each other, exemplifying the Live Mutual ethos and giving us hope after a year that seemed dominated by negative news. 2018 was also full of people going out of their way to help others. But before getting to know them, let's check in on some of our Unsung Heroes from last year.
Middle school just keeps getting better for an Indiana student who was escorted last year to his first day of school by a motorcycle club with a peaceful, but powerful, message for his peers: the bullying stops now.
Phil Mick, 12, had been targeted by other students for years during elementary school and, according to his mother, had become socially withdrawn and depressed. When local motorcycle enthusiast Brent Warfield found out, he used social media to invite bikers across the region to join him in a morning prayer before he delivered Phil to his new school, not knowing what kind of turnout to expect.
When dawn broke that day, more than 50 bikers lined up to show their support and send Phil off to school with a fresh start and a new group of friends. School leaders said the motorcade coming down the street made a memorable—and very loud—entrance, sending an important message to students that their community stood for kindness.
A year later, thanks to the backing of his biker friends and his own budding self-confidence, Phil is making friends in his grade, joining clubs, and changing his opinion about school.
“I love school now,” he said, noting that his goal is to become either a doctor or a veterinarian. “I used to be nervous and shy.”
Warfield said last year that his decision to take a stand was motivated by the desire to help all kids who are verbally or physically abused by their peers.
“We love Phil and we’re so glad to see him and help him, but it’s about the bigger picture,” he said. “It’s about all the kids out there getting picked on and bullied. We are here for you.”
Phil agrees that the anti-bullying message is bigger than himself. Since his motorcade escort, Phil has become an advocate for other kids who are being picked on or teased. “I just feel that bullying should not be allowed. I go talk with other students when I see that they don’t have friends to sit with at lunch, and I help them in class with work. I’d really like to start a support group for kids with depression.”
He didn’t ask for an escort this year, he said, because he “didn’t need it.”
Phil is still involved with the local 4-H Club and he’s joined the science club at school. He even went with friends last year to his first Valentine’s Day dance.
Phil’s family is still in touch with Warfield, who continues to organize service projects for needy families in his community. And, Phil made an important life decision: “I want a Harley-Davidson when I get older,” he said, just like his hero Brent’s.
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