Sixth Annual SEAL Family Foundation Event at Del Mar Country Club Raises Over $1.4 Million


SAN DIEGO, Calif. — May 9, 2017 – Philanthropist Madeleine Pickens, Co-Chair Dominique Plewes and The Del Mar Country Club have announced that more than $1.4 million was raised at the April 29 benefit event to support the SEAL Family Foundation.

This year’s fundraiser, sponsored by American Airlines, Simpson Motors, Kern & Co,

Bumble Bee Tuna, Wells Fargo, NetJets, Doug Allred Company, Pamplemousse Grille, and Innovative Capital, and others, attracted 125 golfers at the annual Scramble Golf Tournament, and 400 attendees at the spectacular evening dinner gala.

This event recognized and thanked the Naval Special Warfare community and their families for their military service, and honored their fallen heroes.

The event’s opening morning ceremony featured bagpipers performing patriotic songs and a spectacular skydiving exhibition by Skydiving Innovations. Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant (SEAL) Michael Thornton, USN (Ret), kicked off the golf tournament with welcoming comments.

The evening dinner gala featured keynote speaker Captain Richard Phillips, who was dramatically rescued from the clutches of Somali Pirates by Navy SEALs in 2009 and was portrayed by Tom Hanks in the 2013 film Captain Phillips, and guest speaker Tomi Lahren, a conservative Internet talk show host. The evening’s honored guests were Mr. Thornton and Medal of Honor recipient Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers, Jr.

The event welcomed distinguished guests including Actor Rob Lowe and wife Sheryl; former NFL running back Reggie Bush; former Major League pitchers Trevor Hoffman, David Wells and Jesse Orosco; former San Diego Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards, professional golfer Matt Picanso; professional tennis player James Blake; and USTA coach Larry Stefanki. A number of San Diego community and business leaders were in attendance, including Papa Doug Manchester and wife Geniya, Jenny Craig, Chuck & Maryanne Smith, Michael & Victoria Fitzpatrick, and David and Wendy Wright. The event also received generous support from the Pamplemousse Grille and Chef Jeffrey Strauss, Emerick Construction Company, Trident Manor Kennels, Holly & David Bruce, LM Newman Family Foundation, Yamaha, John Matty Co., and a number of other generous individual and corporate donors.

Extraordinary Live and Silent Auction items that drew top winning bids included a private dinner with Actor Rob Lowe & his wife Sheryl prepared by renowned Pamplemousse Owner and Chef Jeffrey Strauss; a trip for two to the 2018 Master’s Golf Championship at Augusta National Golf Club; a trip for two to the 2017 Country Music Awards in Nashville, TN; a pure bred Labrador Retriever puppy from Trident Manor Kennels; and a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro from Simpson of Garden Grove.

“Once again we’d like to thank Madeleine Pickens and Dominique Plewes for their dedication to our service members by ensuring that the SEAL Family Foundation Golf Tournament and Dinner Gala was a huge success,” said William R. Fenick, Executive Director of the SEAL Family Foundation. “We raised valuable awareness and funds to help with our family-focused programs designed to ensure Naval Special Warfare families are resilient, which in turn create stronger warriors. And in these uncertain times we want to do our part to ensure the Naval Special Warfare Family is ready. Madeleine and Dominique’s tireless commitment to the SEAL Family Foundation make it all possible.”

The Del Mar Country Club is one of the premier country clubs in Southern California. The club family is owned and managed by Madeleine Ann Pickens, a golf enthusiast, businesswoman and philanthropist. The daughter of renowned golf course architect, Bill Baker, she drew from her father’s mentoring and her European influences to develop the golf course and its magnificent landscaping surrounding a 55,000-square-foot castle-like Clubhouse. The breathtaking property quickly turned into one of the finest country clubs in the country. Madeleine is currently developing Mustang Monument Eco-Resort and Preserve in Northeastern Nevada. For more information about both properties, visit: and

About SEAL Family Foundation

The SEAL Family Foundation supports individual and family readiness through an array of programs specifically targeted to assist the Naval Special Warfare community in maintaining a resilient, sustainable, and healthy force in this era of persistent conflict and frequent deployments. With SEALs, their ability to stay fit and focused determines the success of every mission. Part of our job is to facilitate that focus by ensuring every SEAL knows his family is, and will be taken care of. Our motto is “Taking care of THEIR family while they protect OURS.” SEAL Family Foundation programs include Family Resiliency and Services, Children’s Special Needs, Bereavement Support, Transition Assistance, Counter Deployment, Global Outreach, Emergency Assistance and Wounded Warriors Care. For more information and to donate online, visit

Drew VachalSixth Annual SEAL Family Foundation Event at Del Mar Country Club Raises Over $1.4 Million
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6th Annual Golf Tournament & Dinner Gala Recap

Thank you Captain Richard Phillips for addressing our audience at the 6th annual DMCC Golf Tournament and Dinner Gala. Your energy and remarks added huge value to this event.

We extend our gratitude to Madeleine Pickens and Dominique Plewes for hosting another spectacular event. Thank you to all our honored speakers and guests for making our 6th Annual event in Del Mar a huge success!
Drew Vachal6th Annual Golf Tournament & Dinner Gala Recap
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Adventures of our Gold Star Teens!

We’re honored to be a part of such a special journey with our Gold Star Teens. At the end of March, The Gold Star Teens participated in an Expedition weekend in Virginia.

The weekend brought the group together to work on team building with a climbing expert, created a fantastic meal from scratch with an expert chef and had a friendly competition on “Who made it best!”. They finished the weekend with a road trip to Williamsburg and for fun and mentoring with NSW operators. Lots of great connections and camaraderie amongst the teens and mentors.


Drew VachalAdventures of our Gold Star Teens!
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Congratulations to SQT Class 318!

13 April – NSW welcomed 150 family members to include the new operators, instructors and their leadership during an intimate pre-graduation dinner on the BUD/s Grinder.  It was a perfect evening as we celebrated the accomplishments of these young men with the support of their loving families.

Drew VachalCongratulations to SQT Class 318!
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NYT: Using Special Forces Against Terrorism, Trump Seeks to Avoid Big Ground Wars

Via New York Times

MARA, Chad — From Yemen to Syria to here in Central Africa, the Trump administration is relying on Special Operations forces to intensify its promised fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups as senior officials embrace an Obama-era strategy to minimize the American military’s footprint overseas.

In Africa, President Trump is expected to soon approve a Pentagon proposal to remove constraints on Special Operations airstrikes and raids in parts of Somalia to target suspected militants with the Shabab, an extremist group linked to Al Qaeda. Critics say that the change — in one of the few rejections of President Barack Obama’s guidelines for the elite forces — would bypass rules that seek to prevent civilian deaths from drone attacks and commando operations. [Full Report]

Drew VachalNYT: Using Special Forces Against Terrorism, Trump Seeks to Avoid Big Ground Wars
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