As our country recognizes those who have served the highest office in the land on Presidents Day, we at Bethany remember our own organization’s presidents. In its 70-year history, four presidents have served: Hudson Nyenhuis, James Haveman, Glenn DeMots, and our current president, William Blacquiere. And while Bill is leading today, each former president has already left a legacy defined by the difference he made.
Both stay at home moms with newborns, Ivy bought a sewing machine and Britney a monogram machine. Ivy taught herself how to sew. Together they started making handbags and other products to sell. After a while, they couldn't keep up. They created a business plan and Initials, Inc. was born. Britney and Ivy started Initials, Inc. with the heart to be home and ever present moms to their children. To them it has never been about handbags—or even money in those bags—it has always been about changing the future.
Andrew VanderVeer, a Christian Reformed Church missionary who ran the West Fulton Street Mission in Grand Rapids, Michigan, loved children. As a Grand Rapids Press article about the beginnings of Bethany Christian Services said, “He had long worked closely with Kent County Probate Judge John Dalton, who often referred troubled kids to him for help.