PITTSBURGH—Marine Corps veteran Chris Ann Phillips, who founded the annual Community Mutt Strut which has raised more than $2 million to support Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, was chosen by public voting as the 2023 Pittsburgh Veteran of the Year.
The Pittsburgh Veteran of the Year award is a prestigious honor presented to one of the region’s outstanding veterans who demonstrates leadership, teamwork and a commitment to serving others. The award is presented by veteran-owned Military Friendly® and sponsored by Fort Pitt Capital Group.
“This recognition is so richly deserved,” said Chris Hale, Military Friendly® co-founder, CEO and a Navy veteran. “She’s done so much for the veteran community in Pittsburgh and beyond, from building the military program at PNC to her leadership role with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. Congratulations Chris!”
Phillips, who served as Chief Administrative Officer for Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, was chosen from among six outstanding veterans through public voting online. Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs breeds, raises and trains service dogs for veterans in danger of suicide. Her story will be published in the April issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, distributed free to transitioning service members and veterans worldwide.
Phillips’ involvement in the veteran community spans 20 years. She established the military recruiting program for PNC Bank before founding Community Mutt Strut. She has served as a mentor for American Corporate Partners and is a recipient of the ESGR Patriot Award. She was a two-time finalist for the US Chamber of Commerce’s Colonel Michael Endres Leadership Award for Individual Excellence in Veteran Employment. Phillips also is the Director of Development for Pittsburgh Warrior Hockey, which uses hockey to create an environment of healing for veterans, and served as the Chief of Staff for the Military Employee Business Resource Group at PNC. She also established the Military Advisory Council at PNC and other local businesses.
“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of all of us that serve our nation’s veterans. It is a privilege to be the voice of those in the veteran community, no matter the need,” Phillips said. “In my role at Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, I am blessed to be part of a mission that truly saves lives. My work is not done and as long as one veteran is in need, I will continue to serve.”
Phillips served in the US Marine Corps from 1981 to 1985, separating as a Sergeant. She will be presented the 2023 Pittsburgh Veteran of the Year award at the Gala of Angels, a fundraising event on Dec. 7 for the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs.