“I’ve been here all my life,” said Doran Ditlow. And while he doesn’t care much for the cold winters in Newaygo County, he does have a special affinity for the rural area where he was born.

“I was born about as far out as you could get,” said Doran of his childhood home near White Cloud. “Our house was past where the blacktop ended, then past where the gravel ended.”

He graduated from White Cloud High School and served abroad with the Army. After returning home, Doran reconnected with Margaret–a high school classmate–and started a family. They were married for 51 years. Doran also worked hard to put himself and, later, his daughter through college.

“My parents were big on education,” said Doran. “College is important because, for most people, it’s one of their best shots at a good job and to make more money. Education gives you a common language and makes you more competitive.”

Wanting to find a permanent way to give other local young people a chance to continue their educations, he created the Doran and Margaret Stuthard Ditlow Scholarship for White Cloud graduates.

“My dad, brother, wife, and I all graduated from White Cloud,” explained Doran. “I’m helping kids like we were. I hope it helps them get their degree and find a good job.”

“It goes back to my parents,” Doran continued. Because in addition to a belief in the value of education, they instilled in him another important principle: “I wanted to leave things better than I found them.”