Witherell has been involved in many projects in Grand Haven, working with everyone from the American Red Cross, Jaycees, United Way, Grand Haven Area Public Schools Foundation Board, YMCA Board, Tri-Cities Historical Museum, Grand Haven Area Arts Council, Central Park Fountain Project, Grand Haven Boardwalk, and music in Central Park and in Spring Lake. As a Chamber ambassador, Witherell and his wife, Marcia, started the Jingle Bell Parade.
Working on so many projects and with so many groups, Witherell said he was honored to receive the award, but also recognized those who helped in the various causes.
“It means the world," he said. "But the reality is, it’s all the people who work with you who deserve the award."
“Grand Haven is a special place to be,” he added.
Loftis, too, was glad to be honored for his involvement in the community, receiving the Spirit of Community Award on Thursday night. This award is presented to individuals who provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and who demonstrate leadership and initiative in the development of volunteer projects.
Loftis was honored for his work in various facets of the community — including the restaurant business, where he owns several downtown Grand Haven eateries, as well as his effort to bring out several community events such as the Chilly Blues Festival and most recently ArtWalk. Loftis was also recognized for his volunteer hours as chairman of the Michigan Restaurant Association Board and a trustee of the MRA’s Educational Support Foundation. He is also the immediate past chairman of Grand Haven’s Main Street Downtown Development Authority, and past president of the Grand Haven/Spring Lake Visitors Bureau and past president of Downtown Grand Haven Inc.
“It’s a terrific honor,” Loftis said of the award. “I really appreciate it.”
Loftis said he believed his involvement in making the community better, as well as hosting ArtWalk and Chilly Blues, stood out in order for him to receive the award.
“It’s either stand on the sidelines or get in the mix,” he said.
Loftis added that Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg and Fruitport all have a lot to be thankful for, and said that the communities weren’t waiting for Lansing and Washington to make change in the community.