Phil Wilson, co-recipient of the 2012 Humanitarian of the Year award from Florida Realtors, receives congratulations from then-President Summer Greene during the 2012 Convention & Trade Expo.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – For nearly 30 years, Phil Wilson, a real estate professional with Philip Wilson Auctioneer in Port Charlotte-Punta Gorda, has volunteered his time and talents to serve as the community auctioneer for the American Cancer Society’s annual auctions.
Wilson has also used his skills as a professional auctioneer to help raise funds for nearly every community group in Charlotte County, including the YMCA, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, 4H Club, Rotary Club, American Heart Association, Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Leukemia Cup Race, Future Farmers of America and Kiwanis Clubs, plus high schools, churches, medical centers and many others.
“At the time, these were just auctions,” he says. But in 2005, Wilson’s wife Linda, also a real estate professional, was diagnosed with cancer. “Then that work with the American Cancer Society (ACS) became something even more important to me. About three years after my wife got cancer, my stepdaughter also was diagnosed with cancer,” he says. Both are now doing well, but says Wilson, “Once you have a loved one diagnosed with cancer, it makes the disease real. You pay attention to it.”
Wilson devotes much of his free time raising money and awareness for the ACS. “My wife is a cancer counselor and is on the (local) board. I’m involved in the Relay for Life,” he says.
Man on a Mission
The truth is that Wilson is a man on a mission to raise awareness for the ACS. You may find him boiling corn at different charity events around the city. “All the money we raise from selling the corn goes to the charity,” he says.
Alternatively, you may find him at a local park playing the saxophone, fiddle or clarinet.
“I have a portable stage that has the pink breast cancer ribbon on it. I go around town with my bucket, and the money I raise goes for the Relay for Life team’s charitable giving.” While he can be found setting up impromptu concerts at Winn Dixie in Punta Gorda, he also plays at different events around town.
One such event is Gallery Walk, a downtown Punta Gorda event on the third Thursday of every month. “Stores are open late. I set up my stage and play my instruments. If there is a group of people gathering, I set up and play. I raised $550 this year just in tips from doing that and it all goes to the American Cancer Society,” he says.
For the Relay for Life, Wilson set up a four-person team called the Wilson Realty Warriors. “The race was in April, and we raised $16,000 through our fundraising efforts,” he says.
In addition to the impromptu concerts and corn sales over the past 35 years, Wilson has held a BBQ behind his office to raise money for the team, but the biggest fundraiser he has is a garage sale.
“When we sell or list a house, and the buyer or seller doesn’t want the furniture, we take it and have garage sales in front of our office. Most buyers and sellers give us 100 percent of the proceeds; some give us half. Either way, we give everything to the charity,” he says.
Wilson says they hold between four and six garage sales each year. “People will drop things off throughout the year, and we keep it all in a locked trailer behind the office. When we have enough for a sale, we’ll pull it all out,” he says.
A More Compassionate Realtor
Overall, says Wilson, the charity work he’s done has helped him to become a better listener.
“It made me realize how important it is to sit and listen to people talk,” he says. “Sometimes they just have a problem in their lives and they need to talk. I’m a better listener now. I’m more compassionate than I was before my wife was diagnosed with cancer.”
No stranger to winning awards for his giving nature and kind heart, Wilson was honored as a co-recipient of Florida Realtors’ Humanitarian Award in 2012 and has received his local Realtor association’s President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service. He also won the Rotarian of the Year Eagle and “Service Above Self” awards.
The Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce recognized Wilson and his wife Linda with its 2011 “Pacesetter” award for community excellence. Most recently, he received the 2014 Riley Award several weeks ago, which recognizes a Charlotte County citizen’s “selfless commitment to the community.”
While he’s always ready to help a good cause, Wilson focuses his efforts on the American Cancer Society these days.
“If I could raise money for the ACS, I would walk across State Road 41 in my bare feet. There has to be a cure,” he says.