As owner of MSE Landscape Professionals, Mike Seymour loves having an outlet that is both creative and serves the community.
"I love working with my customers to create something special that will be enjoyed for years," Seymour said.
Through his gay son, Seymour also became aware of various organizations he could participate with and donate resources to, in order to help these charities provide invaluable services to the LGBT community.
Seymour recently donated $5,000 to Townspeople, an organization that finds affordable housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News recently talked with Seymour about his relationship with his son and what it means to give back.
SDGLN: How did you react when your son told you he was gay?
Mike Seymour: I knew Mark was gay from the time he was about two. So, although it must have been difficult for him when he "came out" at 17, it was not a shock to me. I think he was shocked that I was so underwhelmed by the news. I told him what I had told myself about him since he was two. "It's not important to me who you choose to love. Just be faithful and be an honorable person."
My father, Mark's grandfather, had a difficult time with it, at first. Time heals all and he and Mark are very close now. Mark feels loved and accepted by ALL of his family, including his five siblings.
What made you decide to give 10 percent of your company's profits to LGBT community efforts?
Thirty years ago, I read the book, "The Greatest Salesman in the World," by Og Mandino. It profoundly affected my world view. The premise of the book was, the more you give to others, the more that will be given to you. I don't have the capital to affect a global impact, so I chose San Diego, where I can make an impact. With so many excellent organizations in San Diego, I am confident that our contributions are helping as many people as possible.
You graciously donated $5,000 to Townspeople, so that they could develop an individual giving program. What about their program made you want to donate to them?
Tom Mc Sorley (director of resource development at Townspeople) is one of the finest men I know. His commitment to recovery and helping those struggling in our community inspires me. I have seen the results that Townspeople gets. That is the biggest motivator for MSE Landscape to give: results.
Have you ever participated in any volunteer or service-oriented projects with your son?
Mark and I have worked together for several years putting together a Christmas celebration for residents at Stepping Stone. We put together "ginormous" (Mark's word) Christmas bags filled with essential necessities, clothing and treats for the the residents. We deliver them on Christmas morning and I even played Santa last year. We then work in the kitchen to serve a great Christmas breakfast to everyone.
This is by far my favorite charitable thing to do. To be able to serve and support people that are at such a crucial point in their life, is an honor. Many in recovery have fractured relationships or none at all. The love and support they receive on Christmas morning could be life-changing. I hope so.
Apart from Townspeople, Seymour also donates to the Gay Men's Spiritual Retreat, Stepping Stone Residential Rehab Center, San Diego Pride, and Lambda Legal. Seymour is truly a shining example of generosity for the LGBT community.
About MSE Landscape Professionals
MSE Landscape Professionals is a full-service landscape design company, with over 30 years experience, offering Landscape Maintenance, Tree Pruning, Installation / Renovation, Weed Abatement and Erosion Control to the Southern California commercial marketplace.
They have worked on a wide variety of projects including major hotel design/build projects, HOA common area renovations, parks, recreational facilities, industrial parks and mixed-use commercial and corporate sites, and provide services to our landscape maintenance customers at no additional costs.
Some of their design/built projects include the Del Mar Hilton, Rancho Bernardo Inn, Temecula Creek Inn and Bressi Ranch Master Association.