When Old Paradian Phil Devlin (1995) beds down for the annual St Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout next month, he’ll be joined by his seven year-old boy Fraser. Both father and son have committed to raising $10,000 in donations to help the St Vincent de Paul Society empower more people to get off the streets and into stable accommodation.

As General Manager of National Projects & Maintenance (NPM, a service provider to the commercial and industrial property industry), Phil took the opportunity to register for the sleepout in the pre-pandemic days back in February . . . and now an even greater sense of urgency prevails from Phil’s perspective.

“As restrictions came into play over the past ten weeks, I could see a lot of focus deviate from the event as the world focused on other pressing matters,” Phil said.

“Vinnies Australia adjusted their game plan to allow people to attend the sleepout remotely, and while that was a proactive move I felt the attention was still lacking.

“Over the past fortnight I have had a chance to reflect on challenges faced both personally and professionally over the past few months, and when you put them into perspective, it’s clear more than ever we need to support our local community who may be doing it tough during these times.”

Accordingly, in a year where physical distancing is now the norm, Phil will be breaking with convention by sleeping in the back of the company ute with Fraser to help raise money for people experiencing tough times – and Fraser is every bit as committed as his old man.

“My son is as adventurous as most seven year-olds. He loves the outdoors and our family camping trips,” Phil said.

“It was easy to convince him to come along, but more important have been the discussions we have had around the ‘why’. He’s a smart kid, he gets the reasoning even without totally understanding why people would live outside.

“Our kids are lucky, so keeping them humble and educated is important.”

Phil is confident his lofty financial target can be attained. As he said: “I feel the target is achievable, but more importantly is the reach”.

“COVID-19 can’t stop the message. If I can put this event on ten thousand peoples’ radar that is more important, and perhaps more execs will register to join themselves or support Vinnies Australia in their own way . . . every dollar helps,” said Phil.

“The whole team at NPM regards giving back to the community very seriously. I am lucky to be a part of a company that offers that very opportunity. By donating you will be kept in the loop with our progress as we continue to prepare and share updates pre and post-June 18. Please donate and pray for a clear night.”