Tim Fitzpatrick was under the impression his wife would be receiving the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce 2009 Outstanding Citizen of the Year award before he attended the annual chamber dinner Thursday night.
Much to his surprise, chamber Past President Dave Dziubinski announced the Fitzpatricks were receiving the award jointly. Several friends and family from out of the area hugged and shook hands with the couple as they made their way to the stage to receive the award.
Fitzpatrick said he had been told his wife was receiving the award. Sue said she attended the dinner as a representative of Art in the Loft.
News Photo by Patty Ramus
Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Past President Dave Dziubinski, right, shakes Tim Fitzpatrick’s hand as he presents the 2009 Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award to Fitzpatrick and his wife, Sue, during the annual chamber dinner Thursday night at St. Anne Catholic Church’s parish center.
"It's not very often I get out foxed and I did this time," Tim Fitzpatrick said to attendees after receiving the award.
Dziubinski cited several areas of involvement for the Fitzpatricks, which include Friends Together, Art in the Loft, Alpena Arts and Culture, Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan and their church, Trinity Episcopal. They also own several businesses in and out of the area. They are both life-long Alpena residents and have been married for 37 years.
Sue Fitzpatrick said she could not thank the community enough for the honor.
"This is a really great community and I really like supporting it," she said.
Tim Fitzpatrick said the award is an incredible honor they didn't expect.
"We don't do what we do to get honored. We do it because it's the right thing to do," he said. "We've been blessed with the financial ability."
Area businesses were the recipients of various awards during the dinner.
The Northeast Michigan Home Builders Association was given the Alpena Community College 14th Annual Northeast Michigan Workforce Development Award. Bay Athletic Club received the Alpena Regional Medical Center Health and Leadership Award. Panel Processing was chosen for the the Junior Achievement of Alpena Outstanding Supporter of JA Award.
Executive Director Jackie Krawczak recognized past, present and new board members and gave an update of the chamber. She said the chamber is at an exciting and pivotal time for the organization. The chamber is preparing to make decisions that will help it to grow and expand on what it already does for members.
"I want to thank all of our members for an awesome 2009. It's because of our members we are able to accomplish what we did," she said.
Chamber President Brent Holcomb, also the superintendent for Alpena Public Schools, gave a message to the attending members. He likened the different parts of the community such as the schools, agriculture, business, health care and the religious community to a body, and that everyone is in this together. When business fails, the schools fail and when business does well the schools do well.
He acknowledged everyone is affected by the current economic situation and offered encouragement that they will see improvement.
"This is a place we're struggling for. We're all struggling together," he said. "But my instincts tell me it will get better."
Nick Woodward, a Central Michigan University student, also presented a speech following the dinner.
Patty Ramus can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687.