Duneland Distinguished Woman 2008, Ann Howard and Dan Johnston,
Humanitarian of the Year 2008
(Tribune photo by Alexandra Newman)
The Chesterton Duneland Chamber of Chamber honored Ann Howard with the
Distinguished Woman Award and Dan Johnston as the Humanitarian of the Year
during the Chamber’s Annual State of the Chamber Luncheon Wednesday at
Trinity Hall in Chesterton.
Howard, introduced by Vickii Brock, a former recipient of the award herself,
described Howard as a person who shows concern for others in all facets of
“She radiates joy, in whatever task she tackles,” said Brock. “Her gentle
leadership style is sought by numerous organizations in the community. She
has served on many boards of directors including: Chesterton Woman’s Club,
St. John’s United Church, Crystal Helmchen Board, Duneland Resale and
Chesterton Junior Assembly.”
Brock related a story of how Howard, a former English teacher, discovered an
employee at a local fast food establishment was struggling with language
skills and offered some materials to help. She now tutors for free the young
foreign student one to two hours every week.
She was instrumental in the fundraising for the Crystal Helmchen Scholarship
funds in the early 90s. (Helmchen, a teenager, was brutally murdered). She
and her committee created three $1,000 scholarships to be perpetually given
in Helmchen’s name. Howard worked with local artists to make an afghan
symbolizing the area with images of the Chesterton Bandstand and the Indiana
Dunes. The afghan earned tens of thousands of dollars and surpassed their
goal of $50,000. The committee then passed on the rights for the afghan
project to the CHS Band Boosters, who continue today to earn funds for the
Heather Ennis, managing director of the Chamber, introduced Humanitarian of
the Year, Dan Johnston who “has always worked to be a difference maker.”
Johnston, a native of Chesterton, is one of the founders of the Boy Scout
group at Chesterton Middle School and headed the group for five years. He was
involved as a leader of Cub Scout Pack 929 for seven years. He also served as
a parent representative in the early stages of the development of the
Positive Life Program at Chesterton Middle School. He was involved as a
parent on the Title 1 and Chapter 1 Development Committee for ten years. For
several years, he worked for the Geneva Center of the Presbyterian Church as
a group leader for trips up the Tippecanoe River.
Since his retirement in 1998, he has participated in mission trips to Kenya,
Ukraine and Zambia. While in Zambia, he participated in the development of a
water system in a community with no fresh water.
He was one of the founders of Duneland Resale and has participated in Resale
for almost eight years. He is now the manager of the Resale program.
While being involved in so many activities, he has always been a man
dedicated to his wife and family, especially now as a grandfather.
“Dan Johnston does make the Duneland community a better place to live, learn,
work and volunteer,” said Ennis.