Gentry named 2013 Citizen of the Year

Joe Gentry is a firm believer in volunteering and giving of one’s self to make the community you live in a better place. He learned as a young man that offering your time and talents can result in great things. On Thursday night at the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner Gentry received one the the area’s most prestigious awards for his commitment to his hometown. He was honored as the 2013 Alpena Citizen of the Year.

Introduced by Economic Development Director of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Jim Klarich, Gentry said the award was not one he wished to keep to himself, but to share with everyone who aspires to make Alpena the best it can be.

“This is pretty humbling and I feel a little bit overwhelmed, because there are much more deserving people and many people that do a lot more than I do,” Gentry said. “I love this community. This year’s theme is teamwork, so this isn’t a ‘me’ award, this is a ‘we’ award. Alpena is the greatest place to live in the world. I have had lots of mentors and help. There have been many people who have allowed me to do the things I think are important. This award is for all of us and we still have a lot to do and a lot of people to serve. This is just what I needed to work harder and faster.”

Gentry is on the Alpena Regional Medical Center’s Development Council, as well as the Alpena Community Board of Trustees. He coaches sports and is involved in many organizations.

Gentry said when he describes Alpena to people who have never visited the community, he said he tells them about the people and how supportive they are of one another.

“The people here are just so passionate and always rise to help others when they are down,” Gentry said. “The community always comes together, whether it is for benefit dinners or other fundraising efforts, the people are always there to support them. The thing the people in Alpena do to help others is amazing.”

There were other awards that were presented after the dinner concluded. The Home Depot won the Outstanding Customer of the Year Award and Bank of Alpena the Business of the Year. NEMROC was given the Culture Change Agent Award and the Alpena Mall/Coca Cola Corp. earned the Up and Coming Award.

There was also an award presented by Junior Achievement, which went to Mike Nowak and the ARMC Award was presented to the County of Alpena. Alpena Power won the ACC Award.

This year’s event filled the APlex in Alpena, as more than 550 people purchased tickets. The attendance topped the 2012 event by more than 100. Those in attendance who have Twitter accounts were encouraged to give examples of teamwork in Alpena that drives it using the hashtag #teamworkmakesalpenawork.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at