Muskegon Exchange Club honors James and Nancy Waters Recipients of Book of Golden Deeds Award


James and Nancy Waters, recipients of the Muskegon Exchange Club "Book of Golden Deeds" award.

By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

The Muskegon Exchange Club presented James and Nancy Waters with its “Book of Golden Deeds Award” during a special luncheon and awards ceremony in their honor.

The Muskegon Exchange Club has presented the award annually since 1918. The list of recipients is a virtual who’s who list of past and present Muskegonites who have made outstanding contributions to the community.

The Book of Golden Deeds originated as a National Exchange Club project that was adopted in 1917. The first Muskegon recipient was F.M. Breuninger in 1937.

The Book is dedicated to those individuals who have in some way directed their efforts to exemplify the Club’s motto of “Unity for Service,” and have united their ambitions and accomplishments so that the ultimate result has been a real service to mankind.

It is intended to be a record of the names of those who by their lives and conduct have been able to serve mankind in an unusual way, or who, by their ability to achieve meritorious prominence in some outstanding manner, are worthy of recognition.

The recipient is the type of individual who spreads the sunshine of esteem and recognition to both the known and unknown heroes of our community. The Exchange Club award recognizes that alongside our many known community heroes, it is remarkable how many unmentioned heroes are around us at all times—how many there are who toil and sacrifice silently and unselfishly and who daily pass by our door unnoticed, neglected and soon forever forgotten. This award pays tribute to the many contributions made by members of our community to benefit all mankind.

Attorney James Waters and Muskegon County Clerk Nancy Waters fit nicely into that profile. Their contributions to the community and our state are vast. Some of the Waters’ contributions include:

    • Donating funds to make the Waters Center for the Performing Arts in the new Muskegon Heights High School a reality;

    • Establishing the first Muskegon Heights Public Schools Scholarship at the Muskegon County Community Foundation;

    • Providing a separate fund at the Muskegon County Community Foundation for Minority Scholarships and to aid in other minority activities;

    • Providing funds for the Muskegon Heights High School lighted outdoor Community message sign;

    • Contributing to help bring the Amistad slave ship to Muskegon County for viewing and tours;

    • Providing funds to purchase the “Tiger Way” sign next to the Waters Center for the Performing Arts;

    • Co-sponsoring, with the Muskegon Quilt Guild, an after-school program to teach sewing and quilting to middle school students;

    • Teaming with Probate Court Judge Neil Mullally and County Commissioner Louis McMurray to provide the sculpture art piece outside the Muskegon Heights High School;

    • Providing funds for the Muskegon Art Museum to bring black history exhibits to the museum;

    • Leasing their former radio station building in Hart to the Michigan State Police for $1, which helped save the state police post from being closed.

The list continues…

James and Nancy feel that they have been blessed in their lives and make it their personal mission to give back to the community. While Nancy confesses that she originally had absolutely no desire to move to Muskegon, she now loves it and has not only made it her home, but the center of her community service. Both James and Nancy are dedicated to serving Muskegon and the surrounding area, and bringing education and culture to residents of the county who may otherwise not have the opportunity to see and experience what the world has to offer.

Richard Jelier, Muskegon Exchange Club committee chair, said, “The Waters’ generosity and commitment to serve and improve the community makes them most worthy recipients of this award. The Club was pleased to select them as the 2010 Book of Golden Deeds Award co-recipients.”