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Awards Dinner

Community Service and Leadership Award & Distinguished Alumni Award

September 13, 2023

News & Events

Awards Dinner

Save the Date for the 2023 Awards Dinner

This Year's Honorees

Save the date for the Foundation’s Community Service and Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner! On Wednesday, September 13, lifelong community supporter Betsy Willey (EGRHS class of ‘64) will be honored with the Community Service and Leadership Award. Climate and Energy Journalist and former Wall Street Journal Middle East Bureau Chief Bill Spindle (EGRHS class of ‘81) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. The dinner will be at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids. Tickets and sponsorship information will be available soon on

2021 Honorees

On September 30, we honored former EGRPS Custodial Supervisor Bruce Towne and CDR. Bill Krissoff, MD, Medical Corps, United States Navy (Ret.), as the guests of honor at the Foundation's Community Service and Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner at Clearwater Place in Grand Rapids.

Bruce Towne spent 23 years as an EGRPS custodian, but that doesn't begin to describe the difference he made in our community. Towne's enthusiasm, friendliness, energy, and passion made him among the most well known and well loved people in town. When he worked his last day for the schools earlier this year, it was a bittersweet occasion that overflowed with gratitude and appreciation. Towne received the Community Service Award.

Commander Krissoff, who graduated from EGRHS in 1964, is an orthopedic surgeon who honored his fallen Marine son Nate in an extraordinary way. After Nate was killed in action in Iraq, Dr. Krissoff, at age 60, decided to walk away from his thriving practice to join the United States Navy Medical Corps. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, caring for injured soldiers. Major General Larry Nicholson, who had been Nate's regimental commander in Iraq, served as the top Marine general in southern Afghanistan during Krissoff's time there. "Bill made a difference for good every day," said Nicholson. "There can be no greater act of love by a father for his fallen son than to take his place in the ranks in the midst of war." Commander Krissoff was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

If you couldn't attend the Awards Dinner in person, or if you just want to relive it, here are some videos of former EGRHS English teacher Bert Froysland introducing Commander Krissoff, Commander Krissoff's speech, EGRHS Principal Craig Weigel introducing Bruce Towne, Bruce Towne's remarks, and other highlights from the evening, including James McDonald singing "Piano Man." It was a spectacular evening. Enjoy! 


Past Award Recipients