Firefighters welcome CJ executives to their kitchen

A pair of CJ Bio America executives sat down for a cup of coffee in a newly remodeled kitchen Tuesday afternoon.

That kitchen wasn’t in either man’s home, however. It was in the Fort Dodge firehouse, and it was refurbished with the help of $19,000 donated by their company.

Tuesday’s visit was the first time company President J.T. Nam and Kyong Han, the chief financial officer and vice president, saw the results of that donation.

”We are very appreciative of what you’ve done,” Fire Chief David Luers told them.

Nam said he believes it is ”very important to have close contact with the fire station.”

The company’s donation paid for appliances and all the needed building materials. The firefighters did most of the work.

The remodeling job began in late November and was finished last month.

”Part of the foundation of the company is to take care of those who take care of the rest of us,” Luke Palmer, the company’s general affairs manager, said when the project was announced in November.

Palmer proposed the idea of a major CJ Bio America contribution to a kitchen makeover after touring the firehouse with his family.

The kitchen had remained largely unchanged since the building opened in 1966.

The company wasn’t the only contributor to the renewed kitchen. A Fort Dodge couple, Dr. Ryan Brown and his wife, Hope Brown, donated a large and specially decorated table in honor of their son, Kelvin, who died of cancer in September when he was just 3 years old.

Luers said Kelvin Brown was very interested in the Fire Department. He said his parents brought him to the firehouse and the firefighters visited him.

The table has a granite top with stainless steel lettering and a Maltese cross, the traditional emblem of the fire service, embedded in it.

The Browns also donated the granite countertops found throughout the kitchen.

Additionally, Sandy Peterson, the owner of A Stitch Above the Rest in Fort Dodge, is donating a $1,600 heat pump that will be used to heat and cool the kitchen.

During Tuesday’s visit, the firefighters gave Nam and Hyong gift bags containing Fire Department shirts, mugs and patches.

Nam said he and his family moved to Fort Dodge in July.

”People in Fort Dodge are very kind and generous,” he said.

He said production at the company’s amino acid plant now being built in the North Central Ag Industrial Park is expected to start in October.

He said dextrose from the nearby Cargill plant, which is also under construction, will be piped to his company’s facility. That dextrose will be the raw material for the amino acids which will be added to livestock feed.

Han said nearly 100 employees have been hired.