Mila Sikes, 8, of Sterling Heights, talks with Mark Wahlberg and Jay Feldman at the third annual Feldman Automotive Children’s Miracle Celebrity Invitational at Detroit Golf Club Aug. 28.
Photo by Patricia O’Blenes
DETROIT — It was impossible to dream up better weather conditions Aug. 28 as renowned actor Mark Wahlberg and Feldman Automotive Group owner and CEO Jay Feldman held their third annual Feldman Automotive Children’s Miracle Celebrity Invitational at Detroit Golf Club.
While the sun radiated over the golf course, light also was once again shining on the Children’s Miracle Network at Beaumont Children’s and the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.
“Giving back is always a good feeling, and that’s what you’re supposed to be doing,” Wahlberg said. “If you’re fortunate enough to have, it’s important to give back. It’s through giving that you receive more blessings, so we want to help as much as we can in as many different areas as possible.”
Along with Wahlberg and Feldman, Detroit was the hot spot for national and local celebrities last week as over 60 celebrities and athletes took part in the event, which set a goal of $1.5 million. The event, which has raised over $1 million the past two years, raised over $1 million before the first group even teed off.
Funding for the Children’s Miracle Network focuses on various treatments, services and pediatric equipment for children throughout 170 different hospitals nationwide, while the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation focuses on improving the quality of life for inner-city children through youth organizations.
When it comes to children, it doesn’t take much to recruit help from all over the map.
“I have a nephew who has cancer right now, so it’s close to home,” UFC star Chris Weidman said. “Anytime we can help out kids who are dealing with issues, it’s a no-brainer.”
Weidman, a former UFC middleweight champion and New York native, has been a charitable figure throughout his career. Weidman raised money for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, which also affected his home, and raised money and served on the board of directors for Live to Fight, which helps mixed martial artists who are battling life-threatening injuries.
Still recovering from an injury, Weidman wasn’t going to be stopped from not only being a part of something special, but also eyeing an accolade on the course.
“Even though I’m playing on a broken leg right now, I’m planning to do some big things here,” Weidman said. “I plan on breaking the course record.”
Along with Weidman, Hollywood stars Kevin James (“Grown Ups”), Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”), David Henrie (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) and Jana Kramer (“One Tree Hill”) were joined by athletes Evander Holyfield, John Starks, Spud Webb, Tom Izzo, Calvin Johnson, Sterling Sharpe and many more actors and sports icons.
While the A-listers have likely been able to try their hands at some of the best golf courses around the world, Michigan held its own and stood tall in the court of public opinion, including with Wahlberg.
“There’s so much great golf here, it’s crazy,” Wahlberg said. “You drive every 2 miles, there’s another great golf course. When I fell in love with Michigan and Detroit, it was a magic summer. I was here shooting a movie, but I was playing various golf courses, experienced Dream Cruise, great food, and met great friends. It was an unforgettable time. I had my family here, so I always try to come back as often as possible.”
One of those great friends is Feldman, whose friendship has now carried over to their families and even business opportunities in Wahlburgers for Feldman and automotive opportunities for Wahlberg.
The duo’s bond is as tight-knit as it can be, and their impact together helped create the invitational, which is the largest celebrity golf event in metro Detroit.
“This is like my brother right here, and we always bust each other’s chops,” Wahlberg said. “We have a lot of fun and we have a lot of laughs. It’s like family.”
As the event wrapped up this year, expectations only seemed to be heightened for the fourth annual invitational in 2024.
This year introduced the “Golf Ball,” which was an after-golf cocktail party where attendees could converse with celebrities and bid on auction items.
Especially when the weather is cooperating, Feldman said, there’s no better time together than a relaxed golf scramble, especially when it’s for a special cause.
“It’s so addictive,” Feldman said. “Every year it gets bigger, and we’re going to plan for next year and how to double it and create ways for more revenue for the kids.”
Izzo is still working on improving his golf game.
“My golf game still sucks,” Izzo said. “I’ll stick with my day job a little while longer. When my day job is over, I’ll get better at golf.”
For more information or to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network or the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, visit beaumont.childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org and markwahlbergyouthfoundation.org.