GLADSTONE, Mich. (WJMN) – In 1956 Howard Haulotte made law enforcement his career by joining Michigan State Police.

“Actually, it was kind of an accident,” said Haulotte. “I was somewhat interested in it before, but I was unemployed and the unemployment office called me and said that I had the basic qualifications to become a state trooper and at that time they were hiring troopers to enforce the newly legislated speed limit.”

Haulotte served at the St. Ignace, Battle Creek and Stephenson Michigan State Police Posts before coming to the Gladstone Post.

“I guess the biggest challenge for me was, I wasn’t as outgoing as the job required and I had to develop that, and I eventually did,” said Haulotte. “It really helped me in other aspects of life too. That was probably my biggest challenge. I enjoyed all of the aspects of work and the challenges. I really had a good career of 25 years.”

Haulotte retired as a trooper in 1981 and has stayed in Gladstone ever since. His retirement has not stopped him from serving his community. He has quite the resume of being involved in the Delta County area. From working for the City of Gladstone as Community Development Director and Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Officer, serving on boards for the Delta County Conservation District, State Council for Conservation Districts to being involved with organization like the Kiwanis Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County, Haulotte has become a prominent person in the community.

“I really enjoyed my years that I was in the Kiwanis Club,” said Haulotte. “The Kiwanis Club does some really good projects for kids in the community and I worked on projects with the playground equipment. I donated lumber and things like that for projects that Kiwanis did. I actually built a small playground, a set of equipment for a small playground for Safe Harbor.”

Currently, Haulotte volunteers for the City of Gladstone on the Board of Review, Planning Commission and Committee to update the Master Plan for the City. He also is President of the Board of Directors for UP State Credit Union and is on the Church Council at First Lutheran Church of Gladstone.

“I really enjoy that part of my life,” said Haulotte. “I like to volunteer. I like to do things to help people and make the community better and I think over the years, I have done things to accomplish that.”

Every year, Michigan State Police gives out the Ernest W. Banning “Retiree of the Year” Award to one retired member of MSP in the entire state.

“Ernest Banning was an employee of the Michigan State Police,” said F/Lt. Gregory Cunningham. “He was employed with the Michigan State Police for over 50 years. Was heavily involved in civics and serving his community in that capacity working for the Michigan State Police. When Ernest retired from the state police, they created this award, the Ernest Banning “Retiree of the Year” Award and that award went to those retirees that not only continue to serve their communities but also stay connected to the Michigan State Police and serving the personnel at the state police.”

F/Lt. Cunningham nominated Haulotte for this award.

“There is no retiree that I’m aware of in my career that I have known that is more involved in their community than Howard,” said Cunningham. “In both, the work that he did for 25 years with the Michigan State Police and then the wide range of civic duties that he volunteers for, most of this is all volunteer that he does.”

Not only was Haulotte nominated, but he was chosen as this year’s recipient of the award.

“I was very surprised when I got the call from the colonel about it,” said Haulotte. “I didn’t know that my name had been submitted, but I’m also very humbled and happy to represent the state police in this manner.”

“Howard came on with the Michigan State Police in 1950s and he retired in 1981,” said Cunningham. “Of course, in the 1950s I wasn’t around at all. And when he retired in 1981, I would have been in seventh grade. So, to give a perspective on when he retired, 40 plus years of his retirement encompasses my time of being a law enforcement officer. Being in the career and now being in law enforcement for 35 years, he’s been retired longer than I’ve been active in the state police and still continues to be active in his community. That is a true inspiration to both Michigan State Police officers and troopers now and to all members of the community and just a simple way for trying to shine a light on that and recognize his accomplishments, his achievements in his life is talking about it. This award brings it to light.”