Reed City's best honored at annual Michigan Week Dinner

REED CITY — With each new year, new faces are recognized for their dedication to and betterment of the Reed City community at the annual Michigan Week Dinner hosted by the Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year's event took place on April 30 at Reed City High school, with Jim Thompson presenting each award to surprised and pleased recipients.

Ellen Finkbeiner was shocked to discover she had won Citizen of the Year.

"You don't do things to get recognized, but it's an awesome feeling and awesome to have my family all around me tonight," she said following the ceremony. "That's what it's about — community, because I love community, I love bringing people together and having positive things put in motion."

Finkbeiner retired from Evart Products and currently works at the Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, providing transportation for residents, surprising individuals with singing telegrams during Valentine's Day and organizing dances to benefit the center's residents. She also takes part in the Crossroads Theatre Guild as an actor and serves on the guild's board of directors, among many other projects.

"She is one of those people you see everywhere doing what she can to make a difference," Thompson said before the award presentation. "She is always willing to help and volunteer her time for a good cause. If Reed City has a cheerleader, she is it. Her impact on Reed City is demonstrated by how she shows her love for those she cares for on a daily basis in the nursing center and the people of Reed City as well."

D&E Supply Co., which is celebrating 50 years in the community, was honored as the 2015 Business of the Year. Owners John and Doug Williams accepted the award with their mother, Eva.

"I was pretty surprised and pretty proud for our family for receiving this honor," John said. "We've just been here so long and we've tried to be a service-oriented business in helping our customers help other people."

The Williams base their business on trust, offering pumps, pipe fittings and valves for water wells and plumbing at wholesale prices. Plumbing contractors and water well drillers can purchase all of their supplies and receive on-site delivery. The company also has assisted Reed City Area Schools with an irrigation system for the biodome, Westerburg Park and the Rocket Football Field.

"Their reputation for selling quality products made them the place for contractors and local citizens to purchase plumbing products," Thompson said. "They assist the Reed City community in its effort to grow and improve itself in many ways often not seen by others. On many occasions when something needs to be done they simply say, 'We’ll take care of it.'"

In addition to the two awards, the chamber recognizes one student with the Outstanding Youth Award. This year's recipient is Reed City senior Joseph Gerring.

Gerring was born and raised in Reed City, serving in the high school band as section leader for three years and as a performer in the musical group called Primordial Cow. He also is involved with the Crossroads Theatre Guild as an actor and director of the latest youth theater performance, and serves as the bugler for the Reed City VFW Post No. 2964.

Gerring also has received a music major and academic excellence scholarship and has been admitted to the music major program and trumpet studio as a music education major at Central Michigan University.

"He is kind, considerate, courteous and respectful," Thompson said about Gerring. "Because of that he has won the respect of his teachers and fellow students. He is quiet and rather shy, but he sets a great example of leadership and reaching his goals. He deserves to be recognized and honored for his efforts in school and in our community."

The event also featured dinner and dessert from Pere Marquette Catering, a year-in-review speech from Reed City Manager Ron Howell, recognition of the chamber board of directors and door prize winners.

Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzie Williams was happy with the attendance for the event and excited to see new faces in the crowd.

"I think last night’s winners were very deserving and it was an honor to recognize them at the Michigan Week dinner," said Williams. "We have so many people and businesses that all deserve a round of applause because they are always willing to help and support our community. It’s so special when we get to honor the winners, bring them in the spotlight and let them shine."