Alliance presents annual awards

A woman with a long resume of community involvement who also helps to serve a free Thanksgiving dinner at her family business received the highest individual award given by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Monday evening.

Deb Johnson was presented the Catalyst Award during the alliance’s annual dinner meeting at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites.

”Her commitment to making things better is second to none,” said Randy Kuhlman, who introduced Johnson.

As always, the identity of the Catalyst Award winner was kept secret until the very moment it was announced at the dinner, and Johnson was surprised.

”Oh my goodness, I am in complete and total shock,” she said.

”I love this community,” she added. ”Thank you.”

Johnson is a co-owner of Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota, 2723 Fifth Ave. S., along with her husband, Casey, and sons Matt and Nick.

The Johnson family moved to Fort Dodge 16 years ago.

”When we came here, we were all in,” Johnson said Monday. ”This community accepted us and took in our children.”

Soon after her arrival in Fort Dodge, Johnson got involved in various organizations and projects. She has led annual United Way fundraising campaigns. She has also volunteered with the Girl Scouts, the Fort Dodge Public Schools Foundation, the Blanden Memorial Art Museum Foundation and the Trinity Regional Medical Center Foundation. She is currently a member of the Fort Dodge Regional Airport Commission.

In 2001, Johnson was part of the committee that secured an All-America City designation for Fort Dodge.

She has also organized many of the fundraising balls for the Webster County Division of the American Heart Association.

About five years ago, the Johnsons began serving a free dinner in the showroom of their dealership on Thanksgiving Day.

Deb and Casey Johnson are the first husband and wife to receive the catalyst Award. Casey Johnson was honored with it in 2005.

The Catalyst Award was not the only one presented Monday.

The Family Pet Medical Center, owned by Dr. Kim Shimkat, was named the Small Business of the Year. Last year, Shimkat moved her practice to a new building on North 15th Street.

”We were surprised to be nominated,” Shimkat said Monday. ”Normally, veterinarians aren’t known for their stellar business skills.”

Active Health Chiropractic, 1523 Second Ave. N., was named the Rookie of the Year. Dr. Josh Mason opened the clinic in 2011. Last year, his brother, Dr. Zach Mason, joined him.

”This is an awesome honor,” said Dr. Josh Mason, who accepted the award Monday.