Nominations accepted for chamber’s annual honor

News File Photo Last year, Pastor James Erickson won Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

ALPENA — One of the largest honors that can bestowed upon someone in Alpena is to be selected as Outstanding Citizen of the Year, and nominations for the 2018 recipient are now being accepted by the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce.

The list of past winners is impressive, and all have made a positive impact on their communities. Assuredly, so has the next winner, who will be announced at the chamber’s annual dinner on Feb. 7.

Chamber Member Services Director Ashley DeFisher said nomination forms are available at the chamber and on its website, She said that, when the form is being filled out, it is important to include as much information about the nominee as possible, including any awards they may have won, charitable causes they support, organizations or churches they are members of, and other notes of interest.

DeFisher said the applications are then reviewed and scored by volunteer judges, and those scores are then tallied by chamber staff. The winner is kept secret until the night of the dinner.

“We want people to nominate anyone who you feel potentially is a very good candidate,” she said. “To get this award is very prestigious and a high honor. We want as many nominations as we can get because we know there are members of the community who are deserving, but don’t get nominated. That is why we are trying to push people to get their nominations in, because, without a nomination, these people can’t get the recognition they deserve.”

At the chamber dinner, the master of ceremonies will usually build up the suspense on who the winner is by slowly reading the list of reasons why they were selected. As the end of the list nears, many in the crowd figure out who the winner is, and there are cheers, whistles and a few tears when the name is announced. The winner’s family meets them by the stage, and then the new Outstanding Citizen addresses the crowd.

DeFisher said the deadline for nomination forms and letters is at the end of the business day on Jan. 4. She said people are also encouraged to write nomination letters if more room is needed than what is provided on the form.

“The more details you can share, the more information the judges have and the more likely it is they will get a high score,” she said.

For more information, contact the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce at 989-354-4181.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at Follow him on Twitter

Outstanding Citizen of the Year past winners

1983- Miles Ludlow

1984- Alpena Booster Club

1985- Vernie Nethercut

1986- Phil Richards

1987- Lanny Kingsbury

1988- Emery Timm

1989- Red (Bruce) Crittenden

1990- Carl Reitz

1991- Elbert Heath

1992- Marie Deno

1993- R. M. Bob Granum

1994- Art Gillespie

1995- Ann and A. B. Crow

1996- George and Dorothy LaFleche

1997- Betty Krueger

1998- Lucas Pfeiffenberger

1999- Jim Park

2000- David McNeil

2001- John McVeety

2002- Shirley Houston

2003- Dr. Donald Newport

2004- Kerwin Kitzman

2005- Russell Townsend

2006- Al and Cathy Moe

2007- Colonel Sam Sansom

2008- Karen Bennett

2009- Tim and Sue Fitzpatrick

2010- Hal Neiman

2011- Carol Shafto

2012- Dave Zeller

2013- Joe Gentry

2014- Steve Wright

2015- Mike & Kim Kendziorski

2016- Bruce Anschuetz

2017- Pastor James Erickson