By Big Mike Phillips
I am having a great time and feel so honored to introduce you to so many of my friends I encounter while on this amazing journey I call life. It’s these people I feel that help me be a better person. This week, I’m excited to introduce you to a man who is a big teddy bear, he loves to help people and enjoys giving back in so many special ways.
Sean Redmond is not from San Diego. He was born and raised in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state, in the very small and rural town of Omak. After retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2009 (thank you for your service Sean), he went on a road trip through the Rocky Mountains of the western U.S. and Canada, spent a summer (in a tent) in Alaska and was on his way to Central and South America when he stopped in San Diego in 2010. He has always been in love with San Diego, so he stayed. I asked him how he remembered us meeting and his answer was so sweet, I have to share it.
“I met Big Mike by seeing him around the neighborhood smiling and hugging everyone!” he recalled. “Then as time goes, our paths crossed at many community events and we had great short conversations. I must admit, it took almost nine years to finally sit down and have coffee and just actually chat with Big Mike. It was the best coffee time so far in San Diego!”
Sean grew up in a very small town — a timber, agriculture (apples), ranching community. Outdoor activities were a big part of Sean’s youth, which involved being in the Boy Scouts. Between family and Boy Scouts, he was raised with a sense of service to community and helping others. He joined the USAF in 1989 and served 20 years in law enforcement and human resource development. He never stopped his service to community, whether it was in the community outside his home station, or outside his deployment location. One thing I love about Sean is that he is always excited to learn about communities and the people and traditions that support them.
Sean was raised in a very loving family. His parents were very fair, honest, and supportive of both Sean and his younger brother. They were taught to be true and honest, respectful of others, and be the best in what they do.
“It has been very easy to pass these traits on to my beautiful daughter,” he told me. “I am very fortunate to always have that proud dad position. She is pursuing a career in service as a graduate student in Forensic Science at the University of Nebraska.”
Sean is a very busy man. He currently works for the San Diego Unified School District’s Transportation Department as a special needs school bus driver. This job has been what some say a calling. It goes well with what he does with community engagement and organizing, which is assisting in building relationships and bridging communities.
For those of you who might know Sean personally, you also know how involved he is on so many levels in our community. One of his many goals is to have a community that all who wish to live, or visit can do so in a safe and enjoyable environment. One of his greatest satisfactions is to be able to recognize those who contribute to a better community. There are so many volunteers involved with our community that have the capability to lead and better today for tomorrow. Sean has brought these ideals forward with his transition from military to civilian life. He said to me that he was trained from day one to learn and understand what those above him did so that one day, he’d be the one to train the younger generation.
One of my favorite things about Sean is the love he and his life partner Jackson have for each other. They are both two of the kindest, loyal and supportive couples I’ve seen in a long time. Believe it or not, Sean met his husband while volunteering! He was working a shift at the San Diego Gay Rodeo beverage booth. They were wearing the same fashion, plaid and flannel! As Sean said, “On a serious note, this is all a journey and we can make it happen by pushing ourselves to certain limits. There are times when someone by your side, being that extra push of encouragement, is an advantage. I am truly thankful for Jackson’s support and love.
“By working together and looking out for each other, we can address and resolve problems which will affect lasting change in our community for all to enjoy,” he continued. “This is my quote for Stonewall Citizens’ Patrol, but it plays into everything we do as a community: Together we are strong, #communitystrong.”
I personally want to say thank you to Sean for the time, love and sacrifices he gives to so many wonderful organizations. Sean gives his time for involvement with the Stonewall Citizens’ Patrol, San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, San Diego Pride, Gay For Good-San Diego, LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor Advisory Council, Imperial Court de San Diego Advisory Council, Mama’s Kitchen, Lambda Archives, San Diego Unified School District GSA, California Association of School Transportation Officials and San Diego Fire Department/Community Emergency Response Team.
We, as a community, are fortunate to have individuals like Sean who are great leaders, volunteers and just love getting involved and giving back to the community they love. Not only does he protect our community with the Stonewall Citizens’ Patrol, but he protects it with his big heart.
If you would like to contact Sean:
Facebook: Sean Redmond
Email: [email protected]