Lake Highlands Chamber shows love for companies, entrepreneurs and nonprofits that enrich our neighborhood in Valentine’s Day ceremony

Jill Reed, Highlander School’s Principal, goes over a math lesson on equations to a sixth-grade class. Reed’s parents, Wayne and Dr. Betty Woodring, who founded the school were awarded with a Lake Highland’s Legacy Award. (Photo by Rasy Ran)
Jill Reed, Highlander School’s Principal, goes over a math lesson on equations to a sixth-grade class. Reed’s parents, Wayne and Dr. Betty Woodring, who founded the school were awarded with a Lake Highland’s Legacy Award by the chamber last year. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Best in business

Much like attaining romantic love, a feat underscored each Feb.14, the founding and building of a business is exhilarating — a cause for celebration.

A new business usually is a result of dreams, planning and risk-taking. Quixotic visions of lasting, mutual adoration between company and community might fill the most level entrepreneurial heads.

But any thriving proprietor can attest that living the dream requires a ferocious amount of work, not to mention stress, fear of failure, constant financial concerns and more.

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That’s where a Chamber of Commerce can help — with business, that is, not your romantic situation.

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Lake Highlands resident Ted Hill several years ago formed the Lake Highlands Chamber in an effort to support business in and near our neighborhood.

A vibrant business climate encourages a radiant community, where people want to live, he said at the time. Last year, the LH Chamber launched its “We Love LH Business and Community Awards Luncheon” to honor its strongest businesses, nonprofits and individuals.

These are the people and groups who shape our neighborhood and have a lasting impact, organizers said during a nomination process.

The inaugural event awarded five members — C&C Exteriors (small business), Lake Highlands Automotive (business of the year), Resident Taqueria (new business) and Healing Hands Ministries (nonprofit). Finally, the “Legacy Award” last year was especially poignant and bittersweet. It went to Betty and Wayne Woodring, founders of the Highlander School. Betty taught thousands of children that nothing was impossible, as long as they remained citizens of character, former students recalled at her memorial.

Woodring earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the 1950s before opening her school in 1966.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better “legacy award” recipient.

“You just didn’t hear about a woman doing things like that back then,” daughter Jill Reed, a Highlander teacher herself, says. “She just so believed in [the school].”

When Highlander implemented computers in the ‘90s, Woodring returned to college.

“She needed to learn how to use computers and she wanted to make sure she knew everything she could to help the students,” Reed says.

Before Betty, along with husband Wayne, could receive their award from the chamber last year, Betty Woodring died, suddenly, of a heart attack.

Reed says she wishes her parents could have been there to accept the award, to know the community they so loved (the neighborhood where, in the ‘70s, the Woodrings attended each home high school football game, Dad wearing his signature game-night red leisure suit) loved them back.

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This year’s award luncheon is, once again, on Valentines Day, Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the KayCee Club on Shoreview. Arrive at about 11:30 a.m. to network and soak up all that fiscal ambition and success. Lunch and awards begin at noon. Expect festivities to wind down by about 1 p.m., because, hey, these folks have work to do.

For ticket prices, a list of nominees and other specific details, visit lhchamber.com/event-calendar/

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