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The 2007 2nd Annual

This is an opportunity to remind our community of the importance of our local activities in the political world of Kent County. Each award is named for a person who represents the values described in it. This will send a message to all that we believe in and want these values to be continued.

The purpose of the luncheon is to raise funds for scholarships and to present the Congressman Paul Henry Integrity Award, the Ambassador Peter Secchia Heartfelt Commitment Award, and the Congressman Hal Sawyer Justice Award annually at the  spring luncheon.

For more information contact us at

2oo7 Award Winners

Congressman Paul Henry Award
for continued commitment to principles of integrity
through transparency in public service

Congressman Vern Ehlers

U.S. Representative Vernon J. Ehlers of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sworn in on January 4, 2007, to serve his seventh full term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was first elected to the 103rd Congress in a special election on December 7, 1993.

As a member of the 110th Congress, Ehlers serves on four standing House committees. He is the Ranking Republican of the House Administration Committee, which oversees the day-to-day operations of the House of Representatives, as well as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo and the U.S. Botanical Gardens. It also plays a role in federal election legislation, among other issues. He has been a member of the committee since 1995 and was instrumental in the effort to connect the House of Representatives with the Internet and the creation of the Library of Congress’ Thomas website, which allows anyone to look up legislation being considered by Congress, laws that have been passed and other information about Congress. Ehlers served as chairman of this committee throughout 2006.

Prior to Congress, Ehlers served a total of 11 years in the Michigan Legislature - with just over two years in the House and nine years in the Senate, where he finished his tenure as President Pro-Tem. He also served eight years on the Kent County Board of Commissioners, including three years as chairman.

After three years of studying at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Ehlers transferred and received his undergraduate degree in physics and his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1960. After six years teaching and research at Berkeley, he moved back to Grand Rapids to Calvin College in 1966 where he taught physics for 16 years and later served as chairman of the Physics Department. During his tenure at Calvin, Ehlers also served as a volunteer science advisor to then-Congressman Gerald R. Ford.

Ambassador Peter Secchia Award
for community activism through commitment, enthusiasm and encouragement of others

Mary Ann Keeler

The Keeler family has been the cornerstone of community involvement and generosity for over 70 years. Mary Ann Keeler has done so much for this community. Following is just a small sample of her good works.

She was appointed to Gerald R. Ford Commemorative Committee in 1975. She was convinced that the Gerald R. Ford Museum should be built on its present site and the Keeler Fund paid to do borings at the site, to be sure the museum could be built at the location without structural problems. She gathered statistics to prove the economic value to the city of a downtown Ford Museum. She served on the sculptor selection committee for the Ford Museum and the Judson Nelson’s sculpture was chose. “Man In Space.” Her mission was placing art in public places so all our citizens learned about the art of today while going about other activities in their lives. “Sculpture Off the Pedestal” and “Tom Otterness”, downtown and at the Garden are just two examples.

Keeler initiated, organized and started Grand Rapids Symphony Adult Choir in 1962. She was a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Board from 1952–1970 and was made an honorary member in 1980 by the Board of Trustees. She received the Grand Rapids Symphony 1993 Bravo Award for extraordinary contribution of time and resources to the Grand Rapids Symphony. She believed in Education through donations to East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Libraries’ and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Rehabilitation spaces at Mary Freebed, GVSU’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health & Science and DeVos Children’s Hospital Miracle Network also fulfill her need to teach and support. She has and continues to support the establishment and growth of the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Keeler has three children, Anne, Isaac, and Mary and has seven grandchildren.

Congressman Hal Sawyer Award
for acting within the judicial system to promote respect for a government of laws

Rep. Bill Van Regenmorter
Michigan State Representative
and Michigan State Senator

William Van Regenmorter has served many years in the State Legislature as chairman of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. He has also been Senate Majority Whip. He is married to Cheryl and they have four children and nine grandchildren.

Van Regenmorter is a former analyst for Dun & Bradstreet; businessman; county commissioner; authored laws to protect abused children, strengthen family values, assist persons with disabilities, protect the environment, encourage recycling, reduce crime, reduce taxes, increase government accountability, crack down on drunk driving, strengthen conservation efforts and protect the natural resources, reduce domestic violence, require truth in sentencing; author of the Crime Victim’s Rights Act, now used as a national model.

Van Regenmorter has twice successfully authored amendments to the Michigan Constitution; his work has been a subject of The Pepperdine University Law Review; recipient of four national awards, including “National Legislator of the Year,” by the National Victim Center; named Michigan “Legislator of the Year,” eleven times; Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University; in 1997 MADD established the “William Van Regenmorter Award,” in his honor to be given to individuals and organizations who “exhibit outstanding leadership in the service to victims of crime.”

Gerald R. Ford
Appreciation Award

Martin J. Allen, Jr.

Martin J. Allen, Jr. was chairman of President Ford’s Foundation for 21 years. He is now the Chairman Emeritus and Lifetime Member of the Board of Trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Archives on Presidential Libraries and The University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Advisory Committee.

 Marty Allen has publicly shown true love and appreciation of President Gerald R. Ford and has demonstrated President Ford’s values of integrity, commitment and justice. After the death of Gerald R. Ford this past December, Marty made sure the Ford Family was supported and helped the city of Grand Rapids show its support by becoming the spokesman to the rest of the world for Grand Rapids.

Marty Allen holds a B.S. degree from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A from Michigan State University. He served two years of active duty as an officer in the United States Navy retiring with a rank of Lieutenant commander from the U.S. Naval Reserve. Marty worked as product manager of Baxter Laboratories, Inc. of Morton Grove, IL from 1962-1966. He then went to work with Old Kent and Old Kent Financial Corporation. He worked there from 1966-1996.  He was a consultant for Old Kent Financial Corporation from 1996-2000. Marty has received numerous awards, far too many to list here. A small sample follows: Michigan Foundation Volunteer Leadership Award from Governor William Milliken, University of Notre Dame Exemplar Award and Aquinas College Distinguished Service Award.

 He is married to Susan J. Allen. They have three children and five grandchildren.


Calvin College: Nathaniel Knapper
Aquinas College: Marcie Graham
Cornerstone University: Mallery Thurlow
Grand Rapids Community College: Dustin Cook
Grand Valley State University: Victoria Andrews


Platinum Sponsors

Calvin College President Gaylen and Susan Byker

Peter Cook

Bill Currie -
     Universal Forest Products

Mary Ann Keeler

Anonymous 1
Anonymous 2


Silver Sponsors

Mike Jandernoa




Robert J. Chmielewski
Michael Devriendt
Mary and Bill Ford

Arend Lubbers

The Hon. David Sawyer

Donald Wisner
Bill Womer


EOS-Electronic Office Services
Fletcher Evans & Associates

John Helmholdt

Kallman Consulting

Perrigo Printing

Rosebowl Floral

Shawn Thatcher - Floral Designer

Wolfmark Adwerks


Platinum Sponsors




We are pleased to announce Betty Ford and Susan Ford Bales were Honorary Host Committee Chairs for the Second Annual Founding Values Initiative Luncheon.


Bee Isselhardt
Gail Morrison


Dean Agee
Rep. David Agema
Saul Anuzis

James Barrett
Curt Benson
Sen. Mike Bishop

Libby Child
Glenn Clark
Marlene Chockley
Bill Currie

Dave Dishaw
Grand Rapids Police Chief Harry Dolan
Eric Doster

Bob Eleveld

Bill Forsyth
Hank Fuhs

Rep. Kevin Green
Scott Greenlee

Sen. Bill Hardiman
Karl Hascall
Karen Henry Stokes
Rep. David Hildebrand
Donnalee Holton
Holly Hughes

Michael J. Jandernoa
Sen. Mark Jansen

Matt Kallman
Mary Ann Keeler
Dan Koorndyk
Sen. Wayne Kuipers

The Hon. John Logie

Mac McPherson

Rep. Tom Pearce
Dick Perrigo
Brian Pierce
Dick Posthumus

Rick Rankin

Elsbeth Sawyer
Keary Sawyer
Sen. Ken Sikkema
Rep. Glenn Steil, Jr.

Roosevelt Tillman
Mercedes Toohey

Mrs. Fred Vandenberg
Dr. Reggie VanderVeen

Larry Wagenknecht
Fritz Wahlfield
James Weiland
Casey Wondergem

Chuck Yob
Kim Yob


Dick Posthumus - Chairman
Curt Benson
Libby Child
Bob Eleveld
Hank Fuhs
Karl Hascall
Karen Henry Stokes
Matt Kallman


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© 2007
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