Grand Haven Tribune: Chamber celebrates life of Lynne Sherwood
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Chamber celebrates life of Lynne Sherwood

Tribune Staff • May 3, 2019 at 7:00 AM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — Members of the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg celebrated and honored the lifetime achievements of Lynne Sherwood on Thursday night.

The organization’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by Grand Haven Area Community Foundation President Hadley Streng to Lynne’s JSJ family, Nelson Jacobson and Erick Johnson, as part of the Chamber’s Annual Dinner at the Spring Lake Country Club.

Lynne died Jan. 10, 2016. She was 74.

The award recognizes and honors local business men and women who strive toward the highest level of professional accomplishments, who excel in their chosen profession, and have devoted significant time and energy to improve the community’s quality of life.

Lynne grew up in Grand Haven, attended Grand Haven Area Public Schools and graduated valedictorian of her class. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Stanford University and was the first woman to be admitted to the Harvard School of Business for the full two-year program, earning an MBA in finance.

Lynne joined Goldman, Sachs & Co. of New York City, where she spent 35 years as a securities analyst, vice president, and associate director of research and consultant on special projects. In 1981, as a member of one of the founding families of the JSJ Corp., Lynne joined its Board of Directors. She returned to the Grand Haven area in 1997 to take an active role in the management of JSJ, serving as corporate secretary until 2005. She served as chairperson of JSJ from 2005-11. She was named vice chairman and secretary in 2011.

Lynne was a trustee of the Michigan Colleges Foundation and Alma College, and served on the Spring Lake District Library Board as president and treasurer. She was an active member of the Rotary Club of Grand Haven, and inducted into the Grand Haven High School Hall of Fame for her business achievements and leadership in charitable and community service.

During her 15 years of service to the community working with the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Lynne was actively involved in grant making, but also did plenty of philanthropy on her own.

“As community members, if we look at the many capital campaigns and community projects for community betterment, Lynne and her family fund support is there,” said Joy Gaasch, president of the local Chamber of Commerce.

Gaasch said Lynne’s legacy will live on in many ways in our community. The Lynne Sherwood Scholarship Fund, a bequest to the community foundation, will ensure that even more youth in our community will achieve their educational goals with the help of Sherwood family scholarships. Waterfront Stadium, a community project supported by Lynne from its conception, now bears her name and serves as a memorial to her individual and corporate commitment to philanthropy, Gaasch said.

Scott Rant was honored as the 2019 recipient of the Dr. Elizabeth Curtis Young Professional Award.

The award recognizes a young professional age 21-40 who embodies the business, community and volunteer philosophy of the late Dr. Curtis, one who had an unwavering responsibility to community through the philosophy of always “paying it forward” through involvement with local organizations that elevate the overall quality of life in Northwest Ottawa County.

Rant is part of the revitalization taking place in the Village of Spring Lake by reinvesting in the business corridor. He grew up in West Michigan, and after one year of college enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve his country. He graduated in the top 1 percent. He served two tours in Iraq and assisted in the development of Iraqi police forces and protected villages and their inhabitants from their areas of operation.

Rant returned to Michigan and resumed college, earning a bachelor’s degree in business and an MBA from Grand Valley State University. While attending college, he began working in the family-owned business, Bridgeview Insurance Agency, where he was eventually promoted to president. He is currently one of the youngest in the state running an agency.

Rant serves on the board of Michigan’s Young Agents Council, part of a national organization committed to the recruitment, retention and development of the next generation of insurance agents. He also has partnered with mentor programs at several colleges that offer a degree in insurance and serves as an advisor for Olivet College’s InVest Team.

Rant is currently working with Love in Action’s fundraising and marketing committee.

“If we can help our community members that are currently homeless or struggling, by giving them a hand up and not just a hand out, we can build a better and brighter future for everyone,” he said.

He is also a board member of Grand Haven Young Professionals, supports and promotes donations to BackPack Blessings, and is a member of 100 Men Who Give and the Grand Haven Rotary.

Dave Ruwe, a local Realtor, was honored Thursday night as 2019 Chamber Spirit of Community Award recipient.

The award honors the community spirit of the late Daryl DuBridge. It acknowledges 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.

Ruwe began his community involvement when he moved to the area in 2003 by immediately joining the United Way Board of Directors, where he served from 2003-07.

“He is an outstanding example of an individual that has a passion of giving time, talent and treasures to organizations that make a difference in the quality of life for many in our community,” Gaasch said.

Ruwe has participated in Relay for Life for many years, chaired a United Way campaign, served as an officer and president of Grand Haven Area Young Professionals, is a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore, board member of TCM Counseling, and is on the Soup for All Committee and has chaired the event. He was also on hand to help Sandy Baker bring her vision for Gracious Grounds to life.

He also volunteers for Day of Caring, beach clean-ups, Grand River Green-up, Habitat for Humanity, Imagination Station, Grand Haven Salmon Fest and Grand Haven Art Festival. He has been a Chamber Ambassador since 2008 and served as president from 2009-11. He was Ambassador of the Year in 2016-17 and currently chairs the Ambassador Brick Award program.

Ruwe began his career in real estate in 2003 and is currently the managing broker for the Five Star Lakeshore Grand Haven office. He was named Realtor of the Year in 2019 and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors.

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