A decorated Vietnam veteran and police officer in the city of Philadelphia for 25 years, Billy Phillips (Vasili Philippou) has served country and community. “I was one of a handful of Greek-American volunteers that joined the Army to serve in Vietnam from the area,” recalls Phillips. “My father was a World War II veteran, and many of my relatives served. When the country went to war, and I finished h.s., I signed up as soon as I could. We thought differently back then. Patriotism was perceived differently back then”, said Phillips.
Born in West Philadelphia and raised in Upper Darby’s Greek community around St. Demetrios, Phillips was part of a new church and community that was growing and moving west from Olde City. From the 1970’s through the 1990’s the Greek community population swelled to 1 in 9 of the total population in Upper Darby. He witnessed the birth of a new church that was built in 1965 across the Cobbs Creek Parkway from West Philadelphia in Upper Darby. He was even part of the first Greek-American Boy Scout troop – 302 in the area. Troop 302 established a record for the most Eagle Scouts in the state of Pennsylvania years later and united the youth of a community that was becoming part of the American melting pot.
Like his father before him, he too joined the VFW Post 6633 – Eleftheria after returning from his service in Vietnam. It was only Greek-American veterans post in North America. Today, Philippou is an active member of the VFW post and is retired from the police force.