Andrea Phillips thanks President Obama, military for her husband's rescue

04/13/09 5:42PM By Ross Sneyd
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AP Photo/Toby Talbot
Andrea Phillips is flanked by her son, Daniel, and daughter, Mariah.
(Host) A day after her husband was rescued from Somali pirates, Andrea Phillips said she wanted to thank friends, officials and especially President Obama for their support during the crisis.

In a short news conference in South Burlington today, Phillips also said she had also been able to speak with her husband by telephone.

VPR's Ross Sneyd has more.

(Sneyd) Andrea Phillips has had the flu since a day before her husband's capture - and she's just now recovering.

Since last week, when it became clear that Richard Phillips had given himself up to the pirates to protect the crew on his Merchant Marine ship, she's stayed out of the spotlight.

She said her husband got a laugh out of her condition, knowing that she would be appearing before the microphones.

(Phillips) ``He was kind of funny when I told him I was preparing a press statement that I actually have laryngitis because he knew it would be very hard for me to be up here to talk to you.''

(Sneyd) So Mrs. Phillips left the speaking to a spokeswoman for her husband's employer, the Maersk Line.

Alison McColl read a statement that Mrs. Phillips wrote.

(McColl) ``She'd like to send a special thank you to President Obama and all the government officials on the local, state and national level for their personal phone calls to their family. She says you have no idea but with Richard safe, you just gave me the best Easter ever.''

(Sneyd) Phillips has spoken with her husband since his release.

McColl says Captain Phillips also had a message that he wanted his wife to share.

(McCol2) ``He wanted me to tell you, quote, `I'm just a small part in this. The real heroes in this story are the U.S. military. They're the most dedicated, professional and capable group around. We should all reach out and thank them.'''

(Sneyd) Mrs. Phillips says her family's faith helped them cope with her husband's captivity.

There's no word on when the family will be reunited - or when Richard Phillips will get home to Vermont.

For VPR News, I'm Ross Sneyd.


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