August 14, 2013 - Local businessmen Kevin Yousif, John Dean, Michael Holycross were at a conference earlier this summer when conversation turned to the United States Marine Corps.
Kevin Yousif, at left, John Dean, and Michael Holycross, at right, are helping to plan a golf outing to raise funds to preserve this year's Marine Corps birthday ball. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
Dean, a Marine veteran, said there was a problem.
Marine Recruitment Detroit, where he has volunteered to help out for the last 30 years, put its annual Marine Corps birthday ball on the chopping block.
"Like everything else in the federal government, there have been budget cuts for the Marines," Dean said. "Marines never ask for help when it comes to anything. They work seven days a week to get the mission accomplished and never gripe. When we heard about the cuts, we wanted to see what we could do about that."
"They put their lives on the line," Yousif said. "I taught my child, if you someone in uniform, thank them. I feel humble to be able to do something for them."
To raise money to save the ball, they're organizing the first annual golf outing at Oakhurst Country Club in Independence Township, on Aug. 26.
Marines everywhere in the world, from headquarters in Washington D.C. to the smallest outpost in Afghanistan, perform exactly the same ceremony.
"John asked if we could work together to raise money for Marines," Yousif said. "It took five minutes and all of us were in."
"It's their biggest ceremony of the year," Dean said.
Funding it themselves would cost each Marine about $500, said Holycross.
"They can't afford that," he said. "We decided to try to come together as a community and drum up support."
The community has come through, signing up for the outing and providing corporate sponsorships.
"People want to give back," he said. "The response is get is it's a great idea. Our goal when starting was 18 in the first year. We made that easily."
"It's been an amazing turn out by the community," Yousif said. "When we ask if they want to help Marine, they want to do that. This is exciting."
A $2,000 donation by Investment Professionals for Charity kicked off the effort.
"It was the spark," Yousif said. "The investment community deep rooted, entrepreneurial, and we like to give back."
"Our colleagues want to give back as well," Holycross said.
"The Marine Corps has been downsized from 220,000 to 180,000 but their mission has expanded," Dean said. "It's a lot of sacrifice. They serve without complaint. This is us giving back."
Marines celebrate their founding on Nov. 10 of each year. The Marine Recruitment Detroit's birthday ball will be on Nov. 9.
For further information, call Michael Holycross at 248-258-0507 or email Mike.Holycross@msgraystone.com.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.