Welch awarded, praised at LCV breakfast

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Welch (left), a labor and employment attorney at Welch Law, received LCV’s Outstanding Community Leadership Award; (r) Hunting “was the impetus for the birth and growth of state Leagues of Conservation Voters across the nation.

LEGAL NEWS PHOTOS BY CYNTHIA PRICE

by Cynthia Price
Legal News

“Elizabeth Welch is a real dynamo, basically a force of nature,” said no less an award presenter than Michigan’s United States Senator Gary Peters Monday at the League of Conservation Voters West Michigan breakfast.

Welch (shown at left), a labor and employment attorney at Welch Law, received LCV’s Outstanding Community Leadership Award at the Meijer Gardens event, based on contributions to LCV as a past president of the board and her broad community contributions.

Peters went on to sing her praises as someone who sets her mind to something and gets it done.

As detailed in past Grand Rapids Legal News issues, Welch not only increased visibility of the Michigan LCV, she was the driving force behind a strategic planning process to set the organization up for continued expansion and efficacy.

Also receiving the Community Leadership award was John Hunting, the philanthropist whose father was a founder of Steelcase. The national  LCV?Executive Director Gene Karpinski presented the award to Hunting, a long-time LCV supporter at every level, crediting Hunting and his Beldon Fund with  allowing LCV?to grow and establish chapters in a number of states.

As the program stated it, Hunting  “was the impetus for the birth and growth of state Leagues of Conservation Voters across the nation,” and Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak praised Hunting for his large role in the state office’s success.

Welch said in her acceptance speech that she has for a long time had a close relationship with Hunting and regards him as a mentor and role model.

Hunting himself, always modest and self-effacing, said, “I really am kind of embarrassed by these events, because any one of you would do the same thing if you were in my shoes. You can only use so much money, and what are you going to do with the rest of it?” In Hunting’s case, both the Beldon Fund and the Dyer-Ives Foundation evidence his decision to spend that money on making the world a better place.

The second annual George Heartwell Award went to Anne Marie Hertl of West Michigan Environmental Action Council. Both former mayor George Heartwell himself and current mayor Rosalynn Bliss announced the presentation.