Though a non-native of Halstead, Phil Adams has been rooted in the community since he and his wife, Mary, first officially moved to town with their children in 1968.
Growing up in nearby Newton, Phil would often make trips out to Halstead with his father (typically to help a friend) and the town quickly grew on him.
After graduating high school and getting married, work with Roads Construction took Phil, Mary and the Adams clan across the state. Following completion of a job in Meade, and the closure of a Roads asphalt plant, the Adams had a decision to make — where did they want to move?
Recalling his fondness for the western Harvey County community, Phil convinced Mary to settle and raise their family in Halstead — a match made in heaven, and seemingly proven immediately.
"We fell in love with Halstead. We volunteered with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and have been involved with everything since we came to town because we liked the town," Phil said.
Phil recently resigned his position on the Halstead City Council, one he had held for 15 years, but his dedicated service to the community started long before that.
Mayor Bill Ewert noted Phil was the "prototypical" excellent council member, always prepared at council meetings, ready to take on whatever committee assignment was needed and do what was in the best interest of Halstead and its citizens — though his commitment went much deeper than just serving on the city council.
"To begin with, he was an all-around super citizen for the city of Halstead because he was involved with things that good citizens just do. If there was paper laying on the ground, he'd pick it up," Ewert said. "There were so many things that he did that the citizens really didn't know about and he wouldn't talk about, but very obvious things were that he sponsored The Great Race in our Old Settlers celebration ... and he was instrumental in getting the statue repaired and then getting it installed in front of the historical society building. Those were just two examples of what his involvement was and his leadership."
Not only did Phil help sponsor and keep The Great Race going for nearly the entirety of its three decades (so far) of existence, but he and his wife also used to host a cookout after the event, something that he noted was well worth it.
Recently, Phil took up the crusade to have "The Protector" statue — which used to to sit in front of the Halstead Hospital — repaired and put back out on display at its new home outside the Halstead Historical Society Heritage Museum and Depot.
Phil has served on the museum board, park board and tree board, helping with projects ranging from planting trees for shade around the ball fields at Riverside Park to building a new swimming pool, but he noted what he is perhaps most proud of is helping instigate the Halstead Community Foundation after reading about a similar organization based out of Hutchinson.
"It's probably my favorite thing because it's gonna help Halstead in the future," Phil said. "It's doing very well."
"He's just proud of the improvements he's helped make in Halstead," said Mary.
Future interests have always been important to Phil and his wife, keeping their children in mind and trying to make a better community for them — sometimes through their own sacrifices, like selling off land to allow for the construction of the levee. While a polarizing issue at the time, the Adams saw a need given the two floods they had been through since moving to Halstead.
Seeing their kids stay local and continue that cycle of hometown pride — with son, Pat, going so far as to work for Halstead as city superintendent — has also brought Phil and Mary a lot of joy, as they see that unconditional love for the community carried on in the next generation and reinvested in Halstead.
"Everything we did, we did not for us," Adams said. "We did it for the city."