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Plowman is Citizen of the Year

More than 700 people attend chamber dinner

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena’s Steve Plowman, left, accepts a plaque from Alpena High School Principal Tom Berriman after Plowman was named the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen of the Year. The award was presented during the annual chamber dinner at the APlex Thursday.

ALPENA — The Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year award is probably the most prestigious honor locally bestowed upon someone.

During Thursday’s annual chamber dinner, Steve Plowman was announced as the 2019 winner. The winner’s name is kept secret until it is announced.

Plowman is a longtime owner of Plowman’s Collision and very active in the community. He serves in many groups and organizations and is always one of the first people to lend a hand, tool or equipment when there is work that needs to be done.

A surprised Plowman addressed the crowd after he accepted the plaque that was dedicated to him. He said there are many others in Alpena who are deserving and he is honored to be recognized by fellow residents.

“This is a very big honor and I’m in a room full of people who are just as deserving, who I know do just as much or not more,” Plowman said. “It is an honor to be recognized in this kind of company.”

News Photo Jackie Krawczak, left, outgoing president and CEO of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jim Klarich, outgoing economic development director of the Chamber, display the keys to the city they received Thursday from Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora.

Before his named was announced, Plowman sat with his friends and family, some of which were aware of what was about to happen as Alpena High School Principal Tom Berriman listed off all of the winner’s accomplishments and good deeds. Many in the crowd began to put two and two together as to who the winner was.

Berriman shared with the crowd how Plowman is an avid volunteer, helps with community beatification projects, and is on non-profit boards in the area. Plowman is known for helping his church, helping coach youth sports and the list went on and on.

Plowman said he has a deep love for Alpena and the residents who live in it, and he does what he does not for recognition, but as a way to give back to it. As he often does, Plowman gave others credit for many of the good things that are happening in Alpena, including the South Bay group, which he is a founding member of, which is pushing to revitalize the U.S.-23 South corridor.

“I grew up in the Alpena and I love the Alpena area,” he said. “I remember when there wasn’t a lot going on here and have seen it grow after being stagnant for years. It’s super to see the improvements in the south corridor, and that is a fantastic group of guys who are visionaries. They have amazing ideas and it’s super to be able to work with them.”

Plowman wasn’t the only one to receive recognition at the dinner.

Wolverine State Credit Union was named business of the year and Propane Plus received the Customer Service of the Year award. The Culture Change Agent Award was presented to Alcona Health Center and the Connecting to the Classroom and Business award went to Jennie Spomer.

Kim LaBrecque was named Ambassador of the year and Alpena Veterinary Clinic was given the Up and Coming award. The MidMichigan Health-Health Leadership Award was presented to Omega Electric and Sign Company, and the Alpena Community College Michigan Workforce Development Award went to Weinkauf Plumbing and Heating.

Tickets for the event sold out weeks in advance and it was estimated there were more 700 people who attended to support the chamber and the local business leaders in the area. The theme of the dinner was Rockin’ and Rollin’ into the Future and classic rock and roll was played, and musical themed decorations were spread out over the ball room at the APlex.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.

Past Alpena

Citizens of the Year

1983- Miles Ludlow

1984- Alpena Booster Club

1985- Vernie Nethercut

1986- Phil Richards

1987- Lanny Kingbury

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- Dave McNeil

2001- John McVeety

2002- Shirley Houston

2003- Dr. Don 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 and Kim Kendziorski

2016- Bruce Anschuetz

2017- Pastor Jim Erickson

2018- Bronwyn Woolman

2019- Steve Plowman

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