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Former NIACC athletic director Mason, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health winners of “Service Above Self” Award

Dan Mason receiving the Mason City Noon Rotary Club's "Service Above Self" Award (Photo courtesy Mason City Noon Rotary)

MASON CITY — Former North Iowa Area Community College athletic director Dan Mason and the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health are being recognized by the Mason City Noon Rotary Club as the latest winners of the organization’s “Service Above Self Award”. The award is the highest given for public service in the community.

Mason recently retired from the NIACC position that he had held since 2006, overseeing the construction of the recreation center on campus as well as bringing back the school’s wrestling program. Winners of the award are never told ahead of time that they are to be honored, and Mason says he was caught off guard by the announcement at Monday’s meeting. “I was really surprised, I thought I was just handing off the baton to the next athletic director. It’s very humbling when you hear the names of the people that have received this award, and as they were reading them off, I was like ‘this is a who’s who of some of the pillars of our community’, and certainly Dan Delaney who was mentioned in that group was one of my mentors. I’m still a bit back on my heels. It was just a great honor and very humbling.”

Mason says while the award was humbling he was honored to be recognized for his contributions large or small to the community.   “You’re sweeping in the corners, you’re taking care of the details, you’re not worrying about what’s in a job description, you’re just pitching in and helping out, and I think that’s something that’s the way I was raised and the mentors I had instilled that in me. Then certainly all those people on that list, if we were to start talking about them, whatever their slice of the pie in Mason City with their career would have been, that’s what we all probably have in common. So it’s pretty awesome.”

In recent years, a sector of the local government has also been recognized for their contributions to the community, and this year the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health was honored for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Director Brian Hanft says it’s nice to see his whole team honored for their efforts.   “Recognition is great, it’s a gift. I always say pay a recognition to give, but this recognition is not about me. This recognition is about a department that has weathered some pretty rough storms over the last couple of years. For our community just to say thank you, I just can’t say how much it means to me and I know I speak on behalf of my colleagues to say it means everything to them as well.”

Hanft says he has appreciated the community’s support during the pandemic.   “When we look around the country, some of my colleagues in public health have literally received death threats. They’ve been harassed, they’ve been ostracized. Never has that happened within this community, within this organization. I’ve always felt supported, we’ve always felt like we have a team behind us.”

The Noon Rotary Club made the awards during their meeting on Monday. 



List of previous winners:

1993 – Gil Lettow
1994 – Art Fischbeck
1995 – Joyce Hames
1996 – Nancy Gilman
1997 – Catherine McCauley
1998 – Mavis Espinosa
1999 – Dr. Robert McCoy
2000 – Dorothy Curran
2001 – Lola Rehm
2002 – Herb Kennedy
2003 – Noreen Coyan
2004 – Susan Fisher
2005 – Betty Jean “BeGe” Clark
2006 – Dennis Wilson
2007 – Dan Delaney
2008 – Al Zook
2009 – Jean Marinos
2010 – Bill and Shirley Stoyles
2011 – Ann MacGregor
2012 – Pat and Ojay Tomson
2013 – Jack Leaman
2014 – John Welch
2015 – Claudia Collier
2016 – Kathy Kinsey
2017 – Carroll Bogard
2018 – Larry and Kay Day
2019 – Jay Hansen
2020 – No recipient due to COVID-19

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