Home / News / Philanthropist Madeleine Pickens and Del Mar Country Club raise more than $1 million for Navy SEALs and SOF Support

Philanthropist Madeleine Pickens and Del Mar Country Club raise more than $1 million for Navy SEALs and SOF Support

World War II veteran Joe Reilly of the 501st, 101st Airborne
World War II veteran Joe Reilly of the 501st, 101st Airborne

More than $1 million was raised during Saturday’s golf tournament and dinner-gala benefitting Navy SEALs and the SOF Support Foundation at the Del Mar Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe, co-chaired by Madeleine Pickens and Dominique Plewes.

“We were so delighted to have been able to again bring together a patriotic group of San Diegans, whose generosity will help to ensure that the Navy SEALs and their families will receive the help and support they so justly deserve,” exclaimed Pickens.

The golf tournament and dinner-gala served as a benefit for Navy SEALs and their families through the SOF (Special Operations Forces) Support Foundation. SOF is unique in that it carries no payroll or employees. It consists of a committed all-volunteer team, and donors are assured that their monies go directly to points of need. The Foundation’s mission is to help ensure that our nation’s elite warriors and their families receive the support they need to effectively carry out their operations, keep their families intact, and lead healthy and productive lives after they conclude their service.

“It was humbling to be in the presence of these mighty warriors and their families,” added Plewes.

As one would expect, the day began in patriotic fashion with a performance from the Navy Band Southwest, and an aerial skydiving display, courtesy of Skydiving Innovations. Afterward, the golfers hit the links for a five-man, 18-hole scramble on the DMCC’s championship course.

The event continued into the evening with a cocktail reception, dinner, and silent and live auction inside a packed clubhouse at the Del Mar Country Club. Among the notable silent auction items were unique Navy SEAL items.

Following dinner, the evening took a serious tone when the keynote speaker, Dr. Dilip Joseph, took the stage to talk about his book, Kidnapped by the Taliban: A Story of Terror, Hope and Rescue by SEAL Team Six, in which he described the harrowing ordeal and his rescue from one of the most elite special operations forces in the world.

After paying homage to the Navy SEALs and SEAL Team Six in particular, the evening concluded with a fun and energetic live auction that generated some of the largest bids in the event’s history. In addition to a trip to Italy to see legendary singer and songwriter Andrea Bocelli perform live, a private tennis lesson in Las Vegas with former major champions and husband-and-wife duo Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, and a private round of golf with PGA champion golfer John Daly at the Del Mar Country Club, a private dinner with World War II veteran Joe Reilly of the 501st, 101st Airborne Division, along with NFL greats Drew Brees and Donnie Edwards, who were all in attendance, netted a hefty $100,000 bid. And two Labrador Retriever puppies, courtesy of Trident Manor Kennels, netted a record $200,000 bid to cap off the evening and take the event over the $1 million mark.

A number of celebrities attended Saturday’s golf tournament and dinner gala, including Admiral David BussDavid Beamer, the father of Todd Beamer, one of the heroic passengers who helped prevent another catastrophe on 9/11 when he and fellow passengers overpowered the hostages in the cockpit who had taken control of United Airlines Flight 93; John Maguire, a legendary CIA Operative who has an extensive background in working with SEAL teams; NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton; Pro Football Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Andre Reed, and two-time World Series champion pitcher Jesse Orosco.

About Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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