I have been fortunate to be part of many charity events throughout my broadcasting career. Usually, many feel it's an excuse just to have another golf outing filled with good times, eating and drinking. 

I just returned from the Steve Mariucci Golf Outing in Marquette, Michigan, where the proceeds from the event go to benefit the Beacon House. I have never been part of such a well-organized event for a more beloved cause.

The Beacon House shelters families and patients who need affordable housing while going through treatment at Marquette General Hospital. It wasn't as much about the auction items, that featured a Super Bowl replica trophy signed by Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. There were signed jerseys, trips and an 8-pound sea crab. Celebrities like Marty Turco, John Hiller, Mickey Redmond, Robert Brooks, Eddie Murray and the captain of the Deadliest Catch (Keith Colburn) all attended.

This event was about helping people, good people, friendly people, Michiganders who want to give back and comfort those who are struggling to answer life-changing questions.

Too often we see or hear celebrities talk the talk without practicing what they preach. Steve Mariucci is not one of those guys. Say what you wish about his stint as head coach of the Detroit Lions, but the one thing you must say about him is that he is genuine. He truly cares about the Beacon House and the help it provides families and patients. 

Mariucci gave us a tour of the facility when we first arrived. His passion and enthusiasm for the cause is obvious. His love for the U.P. and the people there is evident, and his desire to make a difference is blatant. 

It was an honor to try and help in that cause. I thoroughly enjoyed the golf and the company, but I was more taken aback with the people who consider Mariucci's golf outing one of the highlights of their summer. Simply put, they are my kind of people: down to earth, honest and friendly.

Years ago Mariucci and Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo used their influence to raise money for Iron Mountain athletics. It worked. That high school now has some of the nicest facilities in the state, and it’s because Mariucci and Izzo worked tirelessly toward a goal. 

That focus has now shifted to the Beacon House, that can always use the funds. Mariucci, by working in Los Angeles and living out of state, could have easily pawned the responsibility off on someone else; someone who might be closer to the Marquette area. He felt a responsibility to “his people,” and when the Beacon House called for help, Mariucci didn't hesitate. He responded and he helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few days. 

He doesn’t do it to be recognized. He does it because he wants to make a difference. Everyone knows him a coach and a member of the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame. I hope they recognize him more now for his charitable endeavors to the Beacon House. 

He talks the talk, but walks the walk too.  And there needs to be more celebrities who follow his lead.

[PODCAST] Tom Izzo

Shep talks to Tom Izzo, Michigan State basketball coach, about his players at the NBA Draft, why Gary Harris fell out of the lottery and what kind of fit Adreian Payne is with the Atlanta Hawks.