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Olivet College’s 21st annual Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner will be held on Wednesday, May 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Country Club of Lansing. The 2017 honorees are leaders in their chosen professions and reflect the college’s vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility. Jim Blocker, Battle Creek police chief, Rina Risper, owner and publisher of The New Citizens Press, and Ric Walton, president of Walton Insurance Agency, are celebrated for bettering the communities they live in and encouraging others to do the same.

Eric “Ric” B. Walton has practiced individual and social responsibility since he was a child and looked up to his father, who founded the Walton Agency in 1951. Instilled in Ric were the values of protecting and serving the people. Today, as president of the Walton Insurance Group, Ric continues to serve the people of his beloved Jackson County.

“Growing up in a family where you are able to watch your parents do their jobs with responsibility and accountability provided me with the path of trying to mirror their example,” said Ric. “Learning that you weren’t always right and that you were responsible for your actions, not others, helped head me in the right direction. Additionally and most importantly, remembering that there are always two sides to every story.”

Ric’s passion for serving his community has allowed him seats on many boards over the years, including Jackson Community Foundation, Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Ella Sharp Museum, Enterprise Group, OSC Community Bank, Citizens Insurance, Premco and others. In addition, Ric has been involved with the United Way, John George Home, AWARE shelter and community reading programs to assist teachers as they serve young students daily. Most recently, Ric presided on the capital campaign committee leading the way for a new Jackson YMCA facility. In addition, Ric founded The Walton Annual Christmas Walk-Through in 2003, where community children enjoy a visit with Santa, activities, and toys at the Walton Insurance Group on the first Thursday following Thanksgiving. Further, the Walton Insurance Group Charity Fund was established to help people in need in the Jackson County community.

“Almost everything in life leads to choices about commitment to individual and social responsibility,” Ric said. “Every one of those programs has taught me about life, commitment to making this a better world and to give these individuals hope.”

Supporting the love he has for Jackson County organizations, Ric has been the most frequent guest on the Bart Hawley Show on JTV and the co-host on Good Morning Greater Jackson’s live radio broadcast on WKHM for more than 20 years.

Ric recognizes that each person has a different set of life experiences that shape their talents. The important part is listening to other’s stories and sharing your own in order to make the best choices to conduct your life. “I quickly learned not to throw stones but to understand where people are in their life,” Ric explained. “I then realized we are all equipped with different talents and we need to help each other.”

As Ric’s life journey continues, he strives to provide opportunities to others so they have purpose, direction, and quality of life. He has spent decades developing leaders and teams to provide a healthy work culture for the Walton family. Ric encourages employees to sit on local boards and charity foundations as well as volunteer for events throughout the area. His mantra is, “Work hard. Help others. Do what is right. Have Fun. Seek God’s wisdom.”

Tickets to the Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner are $75, which includes a $40 tax deductible donation to Olivet College. For more information, contact Carol Flanigan, senior director of annual giving and donor services, at 269.749.7625 or cflanigan@olivetcollege.edu.

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