The Three Rivers Area Community Foundation was founded in 1974 with the goal of helping to improve the quality of life for those living in the Three Rivers area. That first year, donations totaled just $9,600. Today the foundation administers over $5 million in assets with over $1.9 million in endowed scholarships that make the following academic awards possible. These scholarships were created to honor the spirit of those that left a legacy of service and personal sacrifice to make Three Rivers a better place to call home.
This year, we will honor several exceptional students that have demonstrated high achievements in the areas of academics, athletics, and community service. Some have chosen to pursue careers in business, nursing, and education, to name a few. As you’ll see, many of these students have taken the initiative to apply for multiple scholarships held with the Foundation. Each recipient is required to submit a different application for each scholarship to which they are applying, and those applications are scored by separate committees consisting of more than 20 different area community leaders and educators. This year, we will award 25 scholarships totaling $58,500 for 2023.
RALPH AND PHYLLIS BENCE SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $1,000)
Ralph was born in Kokomo, Indiana where he met and married Phyllis Bacon. Ralph worked in retail and ran the local Firestone store for many years while Phyllis worked at Michigan Power. This scholarship was established to assist students with their future goals and create a life that Ralph would be proud of. This year’s recipient is GIOVANNI GIOIOSA.
CHARLES E. CLARK SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $500)
This scholarship was established to honor James E. Clark and his life dedicated to business. In 1969, he co-founded Central Mfg. Services with his father Charles E. Clark. Jim was very knowledgeable in business and believed in enjoying and having fun at work. He believed, “the best investment you can make is in yourself and your own business”. The business continues today, run by the third generation. This year’s recipient is ELLIOTT WEED.
GEORGE HAINES SCHOLARSHIP (Amount varies)
This scholarship was established in 1994. Mr. Haines retired from Armstrong Machine Company in Three Rivers after 25 years of loyal service. He was very interested in assisting students pursuing a career in an occupational field. All students pursuing a career related to their Career and Technical Education program were eligible for this scholarship. This year’s recipients are
LUCILE SHAFER HARING AND SHEILA J. HARING SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $4000)
Sheila Joy Haring was born June 1, 1936 in Three Rivers, the daughter of Ophir L. and Margaret Lucile (Shafer) Haring. Sheila graduated from Three Rivers High School in 1954, from Stephens College in 1956, and from Ohio University in 1958. Thereafter, she joined Amoco Corporation (formerly Standard Oil of Indiana) in Chicago, Ill. She worked for Amoco in Chicago and New York City for 33 years, retiring in 1991.
Miss Haring had been a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers-Centreville for more than 50 years and served it as an Elder, a Trustee, and as Archivist. She had formerly been a Trustee on the Three Rivers Public Library Board, as well as a board member of the Edward Lowe Foundation. Sheila had also served her community as a volunteer in the Library’s Michigan Room and with the Three Rivers Health Auxiliary. This year’s recipient ABIGAIL LEMACKS.
ELIZABETH “BETTY” LAMBERTSON SCHOLARSHIP (2 in the amount of $4000)
Elizabeth “Betty” Lambertson was born November 18, 1917 in Three Rivers, Michigan to Adam and Margaret Armstrong. Betty attended schools in Three Rivers, The Southern Seminary in Virginia, and she graduated from the University of Michigan. Betty was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and the Elks Club. She also volunteered for many years at the Three Rivers Area Hospital in the snack shop. This scholarship is possible as a result of both Betty’s modest lifestyle and her philanthropic gift. This year’s recipients are ZACHARY REUS & BLAKE VANDENBRINK.
ADAM LEARN #27 MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $500)
At the age of 14, Adam passed away unexpectedly in a tragic diving accident while swimming with friends. This scholarship was established to honor the life that he lived. Eligible recipients have demonstrated similar active lifestyles through sports and recreational activities and the character qualities that would make Adam proud to have them as a scholarship recipient. Tonight, we will award 2 scholarships. This year’s scholarship recipients are ABIGAIL LEMACKS & ELLIOTT WEED.
DENNIS W. LOCKWOOD – GARY WARNER SCHOLARSHIP (2 in the amount of $1,000)
Dr. Jack H. Lockwood and his wife Donna J. Bradford Lockwood, former Three Rivers area businesspeople, established this scholarship to honor the memory of their son Dennis, and their nephew Gary. Students furthering their education in the field of business, accounting, nursing, or industrial arts were considered for this award. This year’s recipients is ELLIOTT WEED.
KEN McENROE SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $1,000)
This scholarship was established to honor Ken McEnroe and his many contributions to our community. Ken was a 1977 graduate of Three Rivers High School. He coached children and youth in rocket football, soccer, indoor soccer, basketball and baseball. This scholarship will honor two scholar athletes for their athletic achievement in the Three Rivers area who are pursuing higher education. This year’s recipients are GABRIELLE CHARVAT & ELLIOTT WEED.
JOHN T. NYKUN SCHOLARSHIP (2 in the amount of $500)
John T. Nykun was born in Hacktown, New Jersey, and graduated from Seton Hall University with a degree in business. John moved to the Three Rivers area with Continental Can Company, where he worked for more than forty years. He also served as Fabius Township Clerk for more than twenty years. This scholarship is awarded to a student entering the fields of government or business. This year’s recipients is GABRIELLE CHARVAT.
CARLTON AND RUTH POE SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $3000)
This scholarship was established to honor Carleton and Ruth Poe, lifetime residents of the Three Rivers area until 1971. They were both graduates of Three Rivers High School. Carleton worked many years with Michigan Gas and Electric, and Ruth was a school teacher in several of the one room schools that dotted the Three Rivers area in the late forties and early fifties. She later taught in the Three Rivers School District. They resided for many years around the Long Lake and Poe’s Corner area and were loyal and active members of the First Baptist Church of Newberg. They both strongly believed in the Love of God and education. This year’s recipient is ELLIOTT WEED.
GLENN RIFENBERG COMMUNITY SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $4,000)
Glenn Rifenberg graduated from Three Rivers High School in 1929 and founded Glenn Rifenberg & Associates Insurance Agency in 1930. This scholarship is a result of Glenn’s lifelong commitment to business and education and is awarded to students entering the field of business or education. This year’s recipient are GABRIELLE CHARVAT & ELLIOTT WEED.
DONALD SCHIMNOSKI SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $500)
Known in the Three Rivers community as “Dr. Don,” this scholarship was established to honor Dr. Don and encourage students to pursue a career in the medical field. Dr. Don spent 58 years serving Three Rivers area families with his family practice, fulfilling his calling in life to help others through his compassion, humility, and kindness. This year’s recipient is KAYDEN STRATTON.
CLASS OF ’69 WILDCAT SPIRIT LEGACY AWARD
The Class of ‘69 wants to be sure that as many seniors as possible have the finances to chase their dreams, and with this scholarship, trust they will be doing their part to assure this. Best Wishes to every senior in their quest for the Best in Life. This year’s recipient is ELLIOTT WEED.
DAVID T. STUCK FOUNDERS SCHOLARSHIP (in the amount of $10,000)
After enlisting and serving his country in World War II, Dave Stuck returned to the area and pursued his college education at Western Michigan University. After graduation he married his college sweetheart and co-founded Fibre Converters in 1949. His life was defined by the Rotary Motto of “Service Above Self”, always putting the needs of others before his own. In 1974 he was one of five community leaders that founded what is today the Three Rivers Area Community Foundation and served as president for many years. His community involvement also included the Jaycees, Rotary, Community Chest (today United Way), Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce, Three Rivers Health, and co-founder of the Lights of Love. This scholarship was created to honor the spirit of those trail blazers that left a legacy of service and personal sacrifice to make Three Rivers a better place to call home. This year’s recipient is ABIGAIL LEMACKS.