Dozens of community members attended the celebration for brother Albert Phillip and brother Mike Seifert at Proyecto Juan Diego Thursday morning where their contributions to Cameron Park were celebrated with food, music and several recognitions.
“We want to recognize all the gifts he’s got and he has helped this community so much. They gave us a piece of property when we started and it was like they gave birth to us,” Sister Phyllis Peters, executive director at Proyecto Juan Diego, said. “Mike and Brother Phillip I think they work so close together that you can see the team work that really was instilled in all the community.”
Brother Phillip was born on February of 1934 in Bluetown, Texas. He attended St. Joseph and started to help those in need in the 1960s. He said he remembers going to the Bishop around 1968 and telling him that he wanted to help.
“Mostly around 1968 I wanted to help more the people of low income and I told the bishop ‘I speak Spanish, I know how to work, I do a lot of things with my hands, manual work and whatever’ and he said ‘ok, we have some low-income housing in Mission, Texas and we need somebody’ so I went and that’s how I got started,” Brother Phillip said reminiscing.
Eventually, Brother Phillip would come back to Brownsville to start helping the community of Cameron Park. He remembers about the long-wait it took to have light poles and paved streets.
“I feel great, especially because I’ve been able to live with the community in the community and being part of the community. Working with the community and seeing it progress and now that Cameron Park has progressed so much we see the results,” he said.
“People are very happy, the streets are clean, the houses are being well-kept, it is just very beautiful, We are all brothers and sisters and that’s community; we all live together, we all share our life together and it is very evident especially here in Cameron Park.”
Brother Phillip and Brother Seifert have been working together for many years to improve the conditions of Cameron Park. During his speech, Brother Seifert talked about how in the 1980s they went to talk to the elected officials so they would start doing something about paving the streets.
“The roads were not paved and that means that without a paved road you don’t get mail service, some remember they would have to come to Paredes line and get your mail, some had to park their cars so very often you didn’t have mail or you car wouldn’t be there the next day, or your car would be there but not the tires,” he said.
“It was a really hard place to live and those hardships created a community with an extraordinary heart and soul and a strong work-ethic.”