Giving a Future of Hope

To celebrate his personal responsibility and encourage others to support the Phoenix Society, Howard Tellepsen established the 2017 Tellepsen Challenge. Under the challenge, all gifts up to $10,000 made in 2017 will be matched dollar for dollar.


Howard Tellepsen was injured at 25, but he didn’t always think of himself as a burn survivor.

After his injury, he began his career with Tellepsen Builders, one of Houston’s oldest and largest building contractors, and eventually became the Chairman and CEO.

For decades, he hardly thought about his scars. But when he joined a friend at the 2010 Phoenix World Burn Congress, Howard was introduced to the Phoenix Society and our worldwide community of burn survivors for the first time.

“[Being a burn survivor] is part of my reality and what makes me who I am today.” said Howard. “There is a responsibility that goes with that, a moral imperative.”

Howard, the latest in a long line of philanthropists, recognized an opportunity to serve others in a community he now called his own.

“I realized the powerful impact my voice could have on burn survivors,” said Howard.

“So many find themselves alone, without a support network and with limited resources. Hope, healing, and happiness seem so far away.”

Believing his own story and support could inspire other survivors to see what can be, Howard became a key volunteer, leader, and donor of the Phoenix Society. Since 2010, he has dedicated countless hours, personal resources, and professional expertise to the burn community.

“It has been a pleasure to invest my intellectual, financial, and relational capital in the vision and mission of the Phoenix Society. It has drawn me closer to my burn family and has given me hope for the future.”

Today, Howard is intentional in looking back and leveraging his past to build a better future for burn survivors everywhere.


This story is an excerpt from The Phoenix Society’s® Burn Support Magazine, Issue 2, 2017.  Burn Support Magazine is a tri-annual publication that contains articles on the emotional, psychological, and social aspects of burn recovery.  All Rights Reserved.
The Phoenix Society, Inc.® • 1835 R W Berends Dr. SW • Grand Rapids, MI 49519-4955 • 800.888.2876 •

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