Description: Big Mike was born in Germany, and after being adopted, moved to the US at age 5. Big Mike came to San Diego in 1989 to stay with his best friend, Tino, who was diagnosed with AIDS. Tino passed away only 3 months later, but made Big Mike promise to stay in San Diego for at least one year. Over 20 years later, Big Mike’s still here. Big Mike’s first bartending job was at The Brass Rail, and for over two decades he has been serving drinks and helping to organize San Diego’s LGBT community. He has Co-Founded numerous organizations including the Rob Benzon Foundation, Developing In Gardening (DIG) for people with HIV and AIDS living in Africa, Tavern Guild of San Diego and Grocery Hearts for Mama’s Kitchen. He also helped found the GSDBA Scholarship fund for GLBT Students. Big Mike has also been using his birthday as a fundraiser since 2000 and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many charities. Big Mike has been the President of the Board of the Imperial Court de San Diego since 2007. He has also been a member of US Congressman Bob Filner’s LGBT Advisory Board, past Mayor Dick Murphy’s LGBT Advisory Board, and was co-organizer for the “Get Out the Vote” campaign for the LGBT community. Big Mike has been the recipient of numerous Nicky Awards from 1996 – 2005 and in 2005 was the Grand Marshall for the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade. An avid photographer, Big Mike’s photos have appeared in numerous local newspapers, magazines and books and he also maintains a weekly blog at Urban Mo’s. Big Mike is currently a bartender at Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Café.

Date: 2008-05-15