Michael DeVito, Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and began his service at Henderson Hall, HQMC, serving dignitaries including the Commandant of the Marine Corps before being stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
As a sergeant in Okinawa, Mr. De Vito groomed corporals, training the next generation of the USMC’s leaders. He was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and upon separation from the Corps in 1999, remained in Okinawa to continue to raise his daughter until returning to his hometown of Staten Island in 2005.
SSgt DeVito began his career in public service with the New York Center for Interpersonal Development as a Personal Advocate for the Staten Island Young Adult Borough Center program, ultimately becoming director for the program at Tottenville High School and overseeing its counterpart at Brooklyn’s Olympus Academy. In this role, as well as his current appointment as Senior Director of Workforce Initiatives, he has ushered over 2,000 “at-risk” students through the successful completion of their high school diplomas.
In July 2010, SSgt DeVito gave up smoking and began running, attaining the coveted sub-3- hour completion time at the Marine Corps Marathon in 2011 (only his second marathon). He continues to race in tandem with community causes, and won Staten Island’s Triple Crown Award in 2016 at the age of 43.
In September 2014, a recent graduate of SSgt DeVito’s was shot and killed in his community. In an effort to transform tragedy into the type of positive energy his student inspired, SSgt DeVito immediately established the first Cesar Sanchez Tribute Run and Memorial Scholarship. Funds raised from the now annual run have granted scholarships to students who embody Cesar’s spirit of sports, community service, and mentorship.
SSgt DeVito is the current chair of the Youth WINS Partnership, a collaboration of multiple organizations creating pathways to gainful employment for young adults. He is a member of the Occupy the Block and the Tackling Youth Substance Abuse steering committees. As a Marine, SSgt De Vito was awarded the National Defense Medal, two Good Conduct Medals with Bronze Star, and two Navy Achievement Medals with Gold Star.
He is married to his first love, Natalie De Vito, since 2003. They live in Westerleigh with their daughter Miya.