Alphonse F. Auclair was born and raised in Woonsocket, R.I. Shortly after World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and fought in the Pacific. where he survived the Battle of Iwo Jima while serving with the 3rd Marine Division.
Al served as a patrolman on the Woonsocket Police Department from 1952 until his retirement in 1977. In 1963, he co-chaired the committee to create the Fraternal Order of Police monument at the intersection of Cumberland Street, Cumberland Hill Road and Hamlet Avenue.
Auclair has been active in veterans affairs throughout his civilian life and is one of the founders of the St. Joseph’s Veterans Association in Woonsocket and served as Commander from 1961 to 1962. He co-chaired the committee to erect the veterans monument at St. Joseph’s Church in 1961. In 1991, Al organized the 50th Anniversary Remembrance of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served on the committee that erected the Vietnam Memorial Monument in Woonsocket. He also chaired the committee that was instrumental in having Route 99 in Cumberland and Lincoln named the Iwo Jima Memorial Highway.
Al was part of the Operation Recognition Committee that arranged to have high school diplomas awarded to World War II veterans who were not able to complete their secondary education because they left home to serve their country.
In 1995, Auclair was named Veteran of the Year by the United Veterans Council, and was also named Citizen of the Year by the Woonsocket Kiwanis Club.
Al received the Citizens Service Medal from the City of Woonsocket in 1992 for his efforts in solving the Doreen Picard murder case.
Auclair co-chaired the committee to erect a monument in honor of the late Aram J. Pothier, Rhode Island’s first French-Canadian governor. That monument is located at the entrance to the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket.
Alphonse Auclair served in the Rhode Island Senate from 1979 to 1984. He founded Auclair’s Home Appliances in 1968 and ran the business successfully until its closing in April 2002.
For his many years of service to his community, the intersection of Elm, Social and East School Streets was named the Alphonse F. Auclair Square on July 14, 1992. The Congress also recognized Al’s many civic and charitable efforts by voting to name the Woonsocket Post Office in his honor earlier this year.