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Michael Joseph: Behind-the-Scenes Support

By Michelle Krasodomski

Thousands of golfers tee it up at charity golf events to benefit worthy causes each year. But it’s those who remain behind-the-scenes putting in tremendous numbers of hours finding volunteers, donations, sponsors and community support that make it possible for these events to run successfully. That’s the role longtime SCGA member Michael Joseph plays with the annual Los Angeles Marine Scholarship Golf Tournament, which started in 1984 to support the Marine Corps family within the greater Los Angeles area.

“Michael has spearheaded the fundraising for the event since 2001,” said Jerry Waletzko, the SCGA delegate for Old Ranch CC, where the tournament is held.

The cause is an important one for Joseph, who was unable to serve in the Marines himself due to physical limitations.

“Even though I couldn’t serve, I still wanted to give back in some way,” said Joseph, who was a longtime participant in the event prior to joining the committee and becoming more involved. “I want to do what I can for the people who allow me to continue to have my freedoms.”

And with Joseph’s help the tournament has raised more than $1.5 million for two Marine charities, The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and The Devil Pups Youth Program for America.

“Responsible for event coordination, Michael makes things happen with his energy and enthusiasm,” said Doug Hamlin, tournament co-chairman. “He’s been able to recruit members from his home club [Old Ranch CC] to participate and we sell out nearly every year.”

The Devil Pups Youth Program for America, based out of Camp Pendleton, is designed to help build the self-confidence of teenagers ages 14-17 from all backgrounds by helping them learn to take responsibility for their actions. The program gives participants 10 days of challenging exercises to build teamwork, discipline and leadership. More than 51,000 Devil Pups have graduated from the program since 1954.

“It’s a great program that makes a big impact on the lives of these teenagers,” said Joseph. “At the end of the week, they all learn something new about themselves.”

The tournament also sends donations to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, which awarded more than $6 million in need-based scholarships last year alone.

“I’ve been fortunate to live a good life and wanted to give back to my community,” said Joseph. “I just feel that when you can make a personal connection with something, you need to take action. I’m glad I did that 13 years ago with this event.”

Past Heroes