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Colleague reflects on Tulsa shooting victim's legacy, philanthropic work

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 20:55:23-04

TULSA, Okla. — As the Tulsa community mourns the loss of the four victims from Wednesday's shooting, Dr. Komi Folly is grieving the loss of Dr. Preston Phillips whom he said was a friend, mentor and father figure to him.

Phillips was among four people killed when a shooter opened fire at Saint Francis Health System's Natalie Building.

Dr. Folly said he was in his office when he heard there was a shooting. He said everything was locked down and he tried reaching Phillips. He said the phone rang five times, but nobody answered — that's when he knew something was wrong.

“My friend had his phone in his lab coat, and I feel like I wish, I had the power, to go there and save him, but I don’t,” Dr. Folly said. "And I wish I knew, when we were separate, I would say goodbye, see you one day, but I didn't have that chance."

Phillips was not only known for his dedication to his profession, but also for giving back.

“In each of us, there is a desire to give back, to give in some way, to be of assistance and God has blessed each of us with certain talents and skills," Phillips said in a video reflecting on his mission work in Togo, Africa.

Phillips had a passion for caring for his patients and a heart for service. As an orthopedic surgeon at Saint Francis, he was admired by many of his colleagues, including Folly.

“I got a lot of text messages from physicians, from surgeons yesterday saying we called him our dad because he mentored all of us,” Dr. Folly said.

But Phillips's impact reached other corners of the world.

“So talented, compassionate, humble,” Folly said.

Folly said their mentor-mentee relationship grew when Phillips joined Light in the World Development Foundation. They traveled together to Togo, where they worked side by side in the operating room doing knee replacements and other surgical work.

“It gives me great pleasure to reflect on our mission trip to Lomé, which is in Togo, in the Western Coast of Africa,” Phillips said in a video.

Later this month, they were scheduled to return to Togo for another surgical mission trip, until Phillips's life was cut short. Phillips built a remarkable reputation with the community in Togo, according to Folly. He said many of them are awaiting his arrival.

“I don’t know what to tell them,” Folly said.

Folly said he wants Phillips's legacy to live on and the difference he made in the world to multiply.

“This death, should not become the end of his legacy, instead, the beginning of a big dream that he had,” Folly said.

Folly said he still plans to go on the Togo mission trip later this month. He said he's looking for a surgical orthopedic doctor with the same passion and commitment as Phillips to join him.

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