Phillip Compton
Jefferson Award recipient
Phillip Compton Jefferson Award recipient

ADA — Volunteering, on steroids!

That could best describe Ada’s Philip Compton, who recently won the prestigious “Jefferson Award for Public Service,” initiated by none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1972.

Compton volunteers with: Ada’s Fire Department; a Critical Incident Stress Management Team; Hardin County’s Suicide Coalition; Kenton’s Table One Restaurant…

Oh, and he’s pastor of Mt. Victory’s Rhinehart United Methodist Church.

Did I mention he’s 76?

Whew, huh.


Compton got quite animated when talking about Table One, which he’s been a lynchpin in since its inception in 2016.

It’s a non-profit “Pay it Forward” restaurant concept.

That is, there are no prices on the menu. If you don’t have the money, you don’t have to pay, or you can pay minimally.

If you do have the money (or even more for that matter), you’re invited to pay even more for your meal than, say, it might be worth — to help subsidize those less well off.

Like a couple from Maryland did one day, in a big way.

Compton said that on a trip west the couple, by happenstance, stopped in for lunch at Table One. When they found out about the restaurant concept, they paid for their lunch with a $5,000 check!

The Table One staff was stunned.

In fact, most all the Table One staff are volunteers, said Compton, including Drug Court participants doing community service. (Two of the Drug Court/Table One volunteers met at the restaurant, and just a few months ago they got married at the restaurant.)

Compton said a good number of local people help subsidize Table One, including monthly sponsoring of tables. What’s more, civic groups, and other community organizations, regularly use the restaurant’s banquet room.

And Tuesday nights there is, in essence, a free, buffet-style community meal there.

Compton, who is a retired Professor of Psychology from ONU, said “food insecurity issues” have always been close to his heart. He was on Lima’s Food Bank Board for a phenomenal 28 years.

Compton also explained that Table One’s property, currently, has 18 raised-bed gardens, where community members not only grow fresh vegetables for themselves, but for the restaurant as well.

Compton said his volunteer work in this area revolves around the “Final Judgment,” Mathew 25 Biblical passage: “But Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you?”

In fact, Compton said a lot of what

See Compton/Page 3

motivates his volunteering is spiritual. For instance, several years before retiring from ONU, he went to Duke University’s Seminary to study to be a pastor. And the last five years at ONU, he juggled being a professor and a pastor at the Mt. Victory church.

He retired from ONU in 2002, which freed him up more for other forms of volunteering. Compton said, as an example, that he’s quite active with Hardin County’s Suicide Coalition.

This involves doing suicide prevention education and Compton is also a member of a team that goes to help, say, family members of a suicide victim deal with the intense emotional aftermath.

Likewise, Compton’s volunteer work with a Critical Incident Stress Management Team helps with “debriefing” survivors of intense trauma — whether that’s a school shooting, traffic accident, a fire… Compton said a couple years ago, for instance, his team was called to the aftermath of a fire that took the lives of five family members.

In his spare time, although no one is exactly sure how many actual seconds that is a day for him, Compton is also a classic car buff who owns: a ’71 Cadillac convertible, a ’78 Coup Deville, and an ’88 Eldorado, all mint.

Concurrently with this car thing, Compton is a member of the national “Cadillac and LaSalle Club.” But, and that’s right, he’s not just a member of the Club, he also volunteers on the Club’s Board of Regents. And he’s the Secretary for the Club’s Northwest Ohio chapter.