PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. – After the small Alabama city of Phil Campbell was ravaged in April by a tornado that killed more than two dozen people and hurt even more, a select group from around the world offered to help: men named Phil Campbell.

Phil Campbells from across the globe are converging this weekend on the hard-hit city of 1,150 for the “I’m With Phil” convention, a gathering meant to raise spirits, money and new roofs.

Phil Campbells are cleaning up storm debris, marching in a parade, donating money to build a Habitat for Humanity house, listening to country music and just showing they care.

“We’re doing whatever it takes to be part of the town for a weekend,” said Phil Campbell of Nottingham, England.

There’s also Phil Campbell from Brooklyn, N.Y.; Phil Campbell from Juneau, Alaska; Phil Campbell from La Farge, Wis.; Phil Campbell from Austin, Texas; Phil Campbell from Glasgow, Scotland; Phil Campbell from Palo Alto, Calif. — you get the idea.

Organizers say 18 Phil Campbells plan to be here before the weekend is out, and they’re not picky on the spelling.

“We are asking all Phil, Philip, Phillip, Philippe, Philipp, Philippa, Felip, Fil, Felipe, Filip, Filippo, Filippu, Filipe, Filype, Phylip, Phillep, Pilib, Fulop, Fulup, Phyllis, Philice, and Philomena Campbells to join us,” said a Facebook group for “I’m With Phil,” the post-tornado name of an event that started years ago as the Phil Campbell Convention.

Located about 95 miles northwest of Birmingham, the town began in the 1880s as a work camp established by railroad crew leader Phillip Campbell, originally of England, and it was incorporated in 1911.

After hearing the city mentioned for laughs on the old CBS-TV show “Hee Haw,” Brooklyn writer Phil Campbell visited during a trip to Alabama and decided to organize a convention in the town for people with the same name.

“‘Phil Campbell’ is such a bland name,” he said.

Twenty-two Phils and one Phyllis showed up for the first convention in 1995, but hopes for making it an annual event fizzled. Months ago, Brooklyn Phil and others banded together through the Internet and decided to try again. They had help from the city’s parks director, who mailed about 400 invitations to people named Phil Campbell.

Long before a massive EF-5 twister plowed through the city during the tornado outbreak April 27, this year’s gathering was planned to coincide with the town’s 100th anniversary celebration, scheduled for today.

The twister killed 27 local residents and injured twice as many, some seriously. Among the city’s 450 or so homes, dozens were destroyed and even more were damaged.

After the tornado, Alaska Phil felt compelled to come back to the town he first visited in 1995. Raised in Oklahoma and familiar with the power of tornadoes, he’s now pastor at Northern Light United Church in Juneau. He took up a collection and raised about $5,000 to help the Alabama town.

“Just because of the coincidence of our names we can do some good,” he said Friday. Then, he pulled on work gloves and joined seven other Phils in clearing limbs and a shattered pavilion outside the Phil Campbell Community Center, now a distribution site serving tornado survivors.

In those first days after the storm, Mayor Jerry Mays wanted to cancel the anniversary festivities and the Phil Campbell gathering. The thought of celebrating seemed wrong.

“An EF-5 tornado just takes everything with it,” he said. “Those 27 people in town, you know them all.”

But then Mays heard about all the people who were planning to visit despite the tragedy.

Mays reconsidered, and he’s glad he did.

“I got to thinking maybe it would give people a chance to get this off their minds and enjoy themselves a little,” he said.