Wednesday, 31 October 2012 by Jennifer John
When Donald Phelps first received the phone call that he was voted Belton's "unsung hero" by Reader's Choice, he did not believe a word of it until it was confirmed to him by his good friends.
Phelps was born at The Texas Cradle Society in San Antonio. When he was five days old, he was adopted by his mom and dad, June and Gene Phelps of Belton.
"The parents I have are my real parents," Phelps said. "I have never desired to find out whoever gave me up for adoption."
Phelps was raised in Belton all of his life and together with his wife, Celena, is raising their seven-year old daughter Abigail. Phelps met his wife at an electrician job site during her work as a Quality Control Manager on Fort Hood. He said that he asked her to lunch one day and that was that.
"It is hard to be any kind of person so I just enjoy being myself," Phelps said. "It is harder to be like any kind of person because it becomes unnatural, so I am just me."
Phelps's friends vouch for his uniqueness and dynamic personality.
"Donald is Donald because he is down to earth and not all about himself or awards," Belton Middle School friend Brent Lloyd said.
All of Phelps's friends say that he is highly intelligent and can do anything but that it is not easily seen by the common person because of his humble manners and appearance.
"He is somebody that lives up to the qualities that he receives but does not want to be in the lime light," Belton Junior High School friend Corbett Finney said. "Donald isn't just about Donald. For any of his friends, he'd be there for any of us."
Among his personable qualities, Phelps is the current assigning Master Electrician and General Manager for JP Electrical Contractors since June 2011 by trade but has a life-long interest invested in it.
With over 27 years of experience as an Electrician, Phelps formerly served as Operations Manager for Brieth Electric from Nov. 2009-June 2011 and as Project Manager for Cadence Contract Services from Dec. 2005-Oct. 2009.
Phelps said that his father was a Master Electrician and taught him a lot growing up. After graduating from Belton High School in 1985, Phelps earned 8,000 apprentice hours for four years and acquired 2,000 additional hours as a journeyman in the early 90's. By 1996, Phelps received his Masters by taking the Masters test and passed with flying colors.
"I love to do it and I've literally done every aspect that you see daily of electricity," Phelps said. "I have pulled generators out of dams, climbed poles and we have photographed every bit of it."
Alongside his electric experience, Phelps has a mechanical aptitude and is dexterous with his hands. He was building oil lamps by the age of six, learned from working in his father's wood shop behind his childhood home on Lake Road in Belton. By the age of 15, he had built a motor for his first car, a Chevrolet Camaro.
In 1996, Phelps met the famous tattoo artist Diamond Glen, at a Republic of Texas Rally. Glen had opened the first tattoo shop of Austin in 1975. On a Friday night when 6th St. was closed off, Phelps went to Glen's shop to get his first tattoo, a skull with 'my way,' written across a banner and situated under his right arm.
Four hours later full of colorful conversation, Phelps was convinced that he would start tattooing. He did his apprenticeship through Glen and became an artist out of his shop on the weekends, practicing up until last year.
Phelps has also built and sold seven custom made motorcycles as another ongoing hobby. Phelps said that back in the day he could easily put 30,000 miles on a bike in a year but he does not have that kind of time anymore.
Lloyd said that Phelps was a cool and crazy guy during school days and is a very talented person who can do anything but does not push his intelligence on anyone. As for his 'crazy' day stories, Lloyd said that Phelps' funny stories are "top secret" and are only meant for laughs among his friends.
Phelps said that his perspective on life is that it is very simple and that is a good way to be.
"I don't have a big family but I value the family that I have and I hold them close to me," Phelps said. "My friends say that 'I can do anything and I'm a very special person.' Whether it means 'special' in a good way or on a short bus, I don't know."
For more information visit www.facebook.com/jpelectcon or www.jpec.com.