Meet Mike Selix, Small-Business Owner and Community Volunteer
by John A. Vlahides
Mike Selix, Senior Warden of Orange Grove Lodge number 293, knows the power of intention. When organizing charity events, he never questions whether they will go as planned; in his mind, he need only except the challenge and let things fall into place. “I say yes first then find resources yet later,” says Selix. “I always have confidence that through the Masons, we can make things work out – and they always do.”
Each Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, he coordinates holiday meals for 500 veterans and their families at the Villages of Cabrillo, a long-term rehabilitation facility, community center, and housing project in Long Beach. Selix’s involvement begin six years ago – about the time he joined Masonry – when he volunteered to help serve Thanksgiving dinner and there was a shortage of food. He resolved never to let that happen again.
The following year, he begin managing the project and initiated community partnerships. Now, Costco donates turkeys, Alta Dena supplies the dairy products, and two Southern California bakeries provide pies and fresh bread. Local Masons and youth groups donate labor. “Everyone who shows up eats and we don’t turn anyone away,” Selix says. “The vets know the Masons are coming to feed them, and they look forward to seeing us.”
For Selix – who is also a member of International City Lodge No. 389, Anaheim Lodge No. 207, the Orange County Public Schools Advisory Council, and the Masonic Hospital Visitors Program, as well as serving as an advisor for DeMolay and rainbow for girls – enthusiasm doesn’t end with the holidays. Though he’s quick to credit others, he has helped organize whale-watching trips, museum visits, softball tournaments, and barbecues. And, he’s currently working with other local lodges to expand veterans programs around Southern California – anywhere there is need. His reasoning is simple: “We don’t serve for recognition. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”
In his own words:
Why do you volunteer?
I ask myself, “how can we make a difference?” Tomorrow is not promised to anybody. What can we do today to inspire someone else; to let them know we care?
Why serve veterans?
I’ve always had great respect for our veterans – we have our freedoms because of them. But sometimes they come back and feel forgotten. I just wanted to make sure they knew their sacrifices matter.
What’s especially rewarding?
With each of us doing a little, collectively we’re able to accomplish a lot. It’s not just one person, it’s many, many members from different lodges that make these events successful. When I take on these projects, I think to myself, “we can’t fail our veterans,” and they always come together.