By Lanier Laney
Along with being head of two important Beaufort charities that help the needy, Steve Curless is the owner of Ramblin Coastal DJ and Karaoke Service.
He was born in Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, as were his parents. He joined the Marine Corps when he was 17, retired in 1997 and moved to Beaufort soon after that.
They call him “The Karaoke Guy” and Steve says with a laugh, “but my volunteers and friends call me a lot of other names behind my back.”
Steve is a mobile Disc Jockey and says, “I do karaoke two nights a week here in Beaufort and I do weddings and parties on the weekends in Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head, etc. I do karaoke at El Toros Bar (near the Air Station) on Tuesday nights and at Steamer on Lady’s Island on Friday nights. I specialize in weddings, which I love to do and have performed at hundreds of them.” He has been voted the # 1 DJ in Beaufort for the past five years.
Steve also works hard as president of HELP Of Beaufort, and also president and founder of Community Services Organization (CSO), which is a group of about 45 churches and nonprofits throughout Beaufort County who work together to help the needy. They meet once a month on the third Wednesday of each month to get to know each other and learn how each agency helps the poor.
Says Steve, “HELP Of Beaufort is a nonprofit where everyone is a volunteer, so no one gets paid for working there. Not even me. We bring in donations of clothes, food, money, furniture, etc., and we give everything away for free. I am usually at HELP of Beaufort most every day, to help out with things, train new volunteers, and to interview clients with special needs.”
“Mobile Meals is another part of HELP. Beth Moon coordinates her volunteers who take hot meals out to approximately 70 people each day, Monday through Friday. The meals are prepared by Beaufort Memorial Hospital. She receives just enough each month to cover her expenses,” he said.
“I have the greatest group of volunteers at HELP that I could ask for,” Steve adds. “Each one works three hours a day for one or more days. They are the best.”
HELP is a United Way funded agency and recently had a successful fundraiser “Happy Days for HELP” at The Arsenal on May 5.
Says Steve, “The CSO is doing great things. Two times a year we hold a ‘Helping The Homeless Day’ where we invite all the homeless to come to the Charles Lind Brown Center (Greene Street Gym) and we feed them, have a doctor check them, do resumes, give them a hair cut, etc. There are several other things in the works that are really going to positively impact the needy of Beaufort.”
“I am amazed at how many homeless people are in Beaufort. We have registered almost 100 people as homeless. And also the number of people who have been hit hard by the recession. People who, just a couple years ago, owned their own companies are now asking for help with financial assistance. One day, we hope to get a homeless shelter set up. We have nowhere to send our homeless except to Savannah or Charleston,” he said.
“With the CSO, I am contacted most every day from either someone who needs assistance or from one of the CSO organizations. We have also started the Charity Tracker Program. It is an online database of everyone who receives assistance in Beaufort County. When a nonprofit logs in, they can see every organization that has helped that person. It really enables the nonprofits to work together to help families who really need help and also to help stop the abuse by people who use the system and are not in real need,” he said.
In 1988, Steve had some buddies who were DJ’s on Okinawa, Japan, and they convinced him to try it. When he did, he fell in love with being a DJ. Then decided to make it his business. “It was a great decision,” says Steve, “and here I am, 24 years later, loving what I do.”
Steve said he’s had many interesting experiences while DJing over the years. “I did a wedding in Atlantic Beach, N.C., for a family of Gypsies in the early 1990s. It went on for 10 hours a day for three days. I thought I would die. And I was a fairly new DJ and I hardly made any money on it. I learned my lesson about that,” he said.
“And I did a wedding on Hilton Head once where the groom’s mother was arrested for hitting the groom’s father. It takes all kinds.”
Steve has three grown children he is very proud of: Nick, 32, Stephanie, 30, and Anthony, 27, who is a Marine currently deployed in the Middle East. Between them he has seven grandchildren.
Steve’s girlfriend Janet Robinson is a teacher at St. Helena Elementary School.
Steve said he loves the kindness and generosity of the people in Beaufort.
His philosophy is simple: “Treat people how you would like to be treated. Even if they are rude and obnoxious. You will find that if you are kind to them, they will be kind to you. “
Steve is a member and ambassador for the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Baptist Church Of Beaufort where he has been ushering for the past four years. He’s also a Mason in the Harmony Lodge, a life member of AmVets, life member of Viet Nam Veterans of America, and life member of Disabled American Veterans. He has been with HELP Of Beaufort since 2003, starting as a volunteer, and President since 2006, six years. He founded the CSO in February of 2009.
His plans for the future are to “continue DJing and working for nonprofits all I can. As long as they will let me anyway!”
HELP Of Beaufort is in need of donations of food, clothes, money, furniture, and volunteers. To sign up to volunteer or to drop off donation items, they are located at 1910 Baggett St. (one and a half blocks behind Maryland Fried Chicken and Piggly Wiggly).
Steve Curless can be reached at 843-252-2710. Visit Ramblin Coastal DJ & Karaoke Service at www.ramblindj.com.