House built by locals, students burns down

Throughout history the Phoenix has been known as a mythical bird of tranquility and peace. When it is tired and weak, it builds a nest that is consumed by fire and from the ashes, a new Phoenix arises.

On Feb. 12, a fire consumed the latest creation of the Phoenix Commotion, which is a local organization dedicated to building affordable housing. The “Bone House,” as it was named, was located at 2017Avenue N. The cause remains undetermined, but the result was devastating. Months of work by Dan Phillips and his crew, which consisted of SHSU students Jared Gamble and Josh Starkey, together with Huntsville residents Ian Nicolay and Alex Williams, was destroyed in just a few hours.

The Bone House was the twelfth house that has been built by the Phoenix Commotion in the last twelve years. This Huntsville-based company targets single mothers, low-income families, and artists in a quest to provide truly affordable housing for the underserved. Approximately 80 percent of the materials used to construct Phoenix Commotion houses are either reclaimed or recycled.

The SHSU community has been active in the Phoenix Commotion efforts since last fall. Student volunteers from Project Homestead, a student organization on campus, helped with construction. Marketing 389 students taught by Dr. Rene Gravois Lee, Associate Professor of Marketing, have been working on integrated marketing communications and fund raising recommendations for the Phoenix Commotion as their semester projects.

Dan Phillips is an Eagle Scout, and has been a bull rider, an intelligence agent, a dance professor at SHSU, and owner of a successful art and antique restoration business. His wife Marsha is an artist and retired art teacher who is now a part of the mentoring team at the SAM Center.

“If there is one thing we know how to do, it’s rise from the ashes,” Phillips said.

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