2017-11-09 / Front Page

Autore Named Citizen of Year

By Erich T. Doerr


Les Cheneaux Citizen of the Year Steve Autore is pictured with his wife, Tami, and his award. Mr. Autore was honored November 1 by the Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce for service to numerous community organizations, including the Mackinac Straits Hospital board. Les Cheneaux Citizen of the Year Steve Autore is pictured with his wife, Tami, and his award. Mr. Autore was honored November 1 by the Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce for service to numerous community organizations, including the Mackinac Straits Hospital board. Steve Autore, a Cedarville retiree whose public endeavors have ranged from serving as vice chairman of the Mackinac Straits Hospital board to helping establish the area welcome center, has been named the 2017 Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

Mr. Autore’s selection for the honor was announced by the organization on Wednesday, November 1. The lifelong area resident especially has focused his efforts in the last eight years on the Straits Health System, also serving as a member of its foundation and chairing the building committee.

“I’ve enjoyed it all,” Mr. Autore told The St. Ignace News.

“This is certainly quite an honor to be recognized with by a group of your peers. However, you don’t volunteer to be on boards and the like for the recognition.”

He said he wants to make sure the hospital is cared for as it grows and to help it to offer more services in the future. He also serves on the boards of the Les Cheneaux Education Foundation and the area volunteer recreation committee. Mr. Autore is a member of the Les Cheneaux Snowmobile Club, the local Knights of Columbus, the Christopher Columbus Hall, Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, and the area’s cormorant advisory group.

Les Cheneaux was a great place to grow up, Mr. Autore said, and his enduring love for the area drives his passion to serve. He has been with many of the organizations for years, some of them for more than a decade. Serving on boards of directors and with organizations pushes him to be a good worker and fulfill his duties, he added, because there’s no one to whom he can pass on the many hats he wears.

Mr. Autore was the owner and president of Autore Oil and Propane for 42 years before selling the company. He was the owner and president of nine area convenience stores and owned the Sandy Beach Cottages, where he also worked as a handyman. He still owns the Les Cheneaux Car Wash.

He is a second-generation Citizen of the Year: his father, Tony Autore, won the award in 1979. Mr. Autore said his father, also involved in many organizations during his life, taught him to give back to the community and those who support him.

“It kind of grows on you,” Mr. Autore said.

He said he set up calendars to keep track of his many obligations with the various organizations and to avoid double-booking his time. He said his extracurricular activities pushed him to make sure he got his business-related work done on time each day. There were weeks when he had a meeting every night.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to see your input and your work makes a difference,” he said. “If you aren’t participating, you are the one missing out.”

Mr. Autore, who once served on the board of directors at the Les Cheneaux Chamber, several years ago saw the need to upgrade the organization’s 10-foot-by-12-foot welcome center. When Autore Oil moved to a new office building, he let the chamber use the old one rent-free for five years under an agreement in which the organization bolstered is staffing and services.

“I think it’s helped the area and definitely helped the chamber,” he said.

Mr. Autore said he is grateful for his wife, Tami, sons Dan, Anthony, and Wade, daughter, Whitney, and his three grandchildren – all of whom always supported his efforts. He always tried to support them in their efforts in exchange, he said. Dan and Wade still live in Les Cheneaux, Anthony lives in Munising, and Whitney in Oscoda.

He thanked his employees for their support through the years, adding that they were always willing to cover for him when his volunteer commitments meant he had to be absent from work.

Mr. Autore’s Citizen of the Year resume includes a long list of past volunteer duties. When his children were younger, he helped with Boy Scout Troop 140, was the Webelos leader, and still is treasurer of the local Cub Scouts pack. He was on Our Lady of the Snows’ finance committee, the Les Cheneaux neighborhood watch committee, the ambulance corps, the historical board, the sewer board, the tourist association board, the community foundation board, the Jokers Motorcycle Club, the Les Cheneaux Community Schools facilities planning committee, and the Chippewa Luce Mackinac County Community Corrections Advisory Board.

Professionally, he was a member of the Michigan Propane Gas Association, Michigan Petroleum Association board, and the Amoco and BP marketer association boards.

Mr. Autore said he hopes his efforts have made Les Cheneaux a little stronger, especially for its younger residents; he hopes children reared in the area will have a chance to stay and find a livelihood there, if that is what they desire.

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