Work Hard. Play Hard. Help Others.

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Michael and Josh at Michael’s wedding in February of 2011.

As we enter the season of giving, many of us look to charities to donate time and money with hopes of helping those in need. There are countless organizations that provide assistance to children, adults, and senior citizens as they face trying times. Many of our employees have strong ties to charitable organizations; however, Michael Blake, Senior Engineer at Sega, is the co-founder of one – the Josh Seidel Memorial Foundation.

Josh Seidel was an outstanding individual. He was described by his friends as outgoing, intelligent, a “jack-of-all-trades”, and the best friend one could ask for. He attended the University of Missouri and received a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering in 2002. He pledged to the Sigma Chi Fraternity his freshman year, and it was during that time that he befriended Michael, among many others. Michael and Josh became roommates their sophomore year and roomed together for the majority of their college education. Their deep friendship was filled with loyalty, camaraderie, and support.

Josh’s entrepreneurial spirit allowed him the opportunity to follow his dream and start his own masonry company in the early months of 2009. Caliber Cast Stone was founded along with his partner, Les Staggemeier, to serve the St. Louis area with custom cast stone services. Josh sadly lost his life in a work-related incident on September 14, 2013. This tragedy shook his family and friends to their core, as they lost a person who was a pillar of strength in their lives.

Because of the profound impact Josh had on so many lives, it didn’t take long for his friends and loved ones to realize they wanted to continue his memory in the form of a charitable organization. His life was spent helping and befriending others, and this was an opportunity for him to continue to give, even after his passing. Thus, the Josh Seidel Memorial Foundation (JSMF) was formed.

JSMF is an organization which focuses on the pursuit of science, technology, entrepreneurship, and the promotion of a greater social good. Since being founded, JSMF has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various efforts, all which better the lives of deserving children, students, and educators. Scholarships in memory of Josh have been awarded to University of Missouri School of Engineering students, MU’s Sigma Chi Fraternity members, and students from Josh’s high school, Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Additionally, the high school has benefited from the foundation’s monetary donations to help support their Robotics Club as well as a Makerspace Classroom, which is a place to gather and collaborate on various science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related projects and ideas. The memorial foundation has also provided funds for the naming rights of a new Advanced Concrete Laboratory, part of a major renovation of the University of Missouri’s Lafferre Hall, which will proudly display Josh Seidel’s name adjacent to the lab entrance (expected completion in December 2016). Family and friends of Josh feel that every penny donated is a way to continue the legacy of a life full of knowledge, entrepreneurship, and success.

The tragic loss of an inspirational man was the fuel for a vehicle which positively impacts hundreds of people. Through the strength and commitment of Josh’s friends and family, his memory will continue to live on in the form of making others successful. As Michael reflected on his friendship with Josh and his involvement on the Foundation’s Board, his thoughts were, “Josh had so many interests and endeavors that he was passionate about.  But what made him unique was his drive to see those passions through to the end.  Josh was always going full bore, living out his dreams and aspirations, yet he continually set aside time when it came to helping others and having fun.  Josh was our silent leader. He took it upon himself to make sure that we all stayed in touch, regardless of the distances between us or the demands of our growing families. The legacy he left behind will never be matched.  As an organization, we are striving to inspire others with Josh’s story and committed to continuing what came so naturally to him, which is why we have adopted the motto, Work Hard. Play Hard. Help Others. Live Like Josh.”

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