Mary Kay Daniel

Fort Dodge

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Mary Kay Daniel is all smiles as she watches some of the games at the recent Relay For Life of Webster County. Daniel is a volunteer who helps out a the annual event.

Mary Kay Daniel believes that it’s important to give back to her hometown.

And that’s exactly what the Fort Dodge native has done time and again over the years.

Daniel, who was born and raised in Fort Dodge, is involved in countless activities, community service projects and business development projects throughout the community.

“I’ve been involved in Relay for Life,” she said. “I’m very much involved in our church at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. And I am currently on the Main Street Fort Dodge Committee.”

Daniel serves as co-chair of the promotions committee.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Mary Kay Daniel poses next to a stained glass window inside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Daniel is very active with the church community.

“I’ve also served two consecutive terms on the SSMID (Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District) Board, Downtown Development Board,” she said.

Daniel is also involved in the Fort Dodge Young Professionals and also created a group called the Downtown Divas. This group is made up of women business owners in downtown Fort Dodge that coordinate shopping events and activities in the downtown area to help draw people to that part of town.

Additionally, she’s been involved in a number of community improvement projects, including Build a Better Block and the FOD Walk, an annual event where volunteers clean up downtown Fort Dodge.

“If it’s something that’s going on in Fort Dodge, I like to be involved in it,” Daniel said.

It all comes down to community pride.

“It’s always nice to take pride in the place that you live,” she said. “That’s pretty much why I get involved in what I do.”

While she was born and raised in Fort Dodge, Daniel said it wasn’t originally part of her plan to return to her hometown.

She left Fort Dodge to attend college and spent a number of years working in various places across the state.

A little more than 10 years ago, Daniel returned to Fort Dodge, thinking it would be temporary.

But her father, John Daniel, who owns Daniel Pharmacy, suggested that she instead stay in town and open up a gift shop.

She ended up opening Mary Kay’s Gifts and Home Decor, which she still operates to this day, just next door to her family’s pharmacy.

Because her business is located downtown, Daniel said she’s particularly interested in improving the downtown area.

“I have an invested interest in the downtown since our business is downtown,” she said. “I’m involved in several things that have to do with downtown and Main Street.”

But that’s not the only reason Daniel frequently volunteers.

“I also get involved in the community just to be active and meet new people and join clubs and committees,” she said. “You’re meeting new people, doing something in the community and having fun at the same time.”

And she does all of this because she wants to.

“I don’t need recognition for it,” Daniel said. “You just do it.”

Additionally, she said people often mention her name when new people come to town as someone who can introduce them to people.

“I love it when new people move to town and they’re told that, ‘Hey, you can talk to Mary Kay because she’ll get you involved and introduce you to people,'” she said. “I really like that. I know what it’s like to be the new person in town, and I wish someone, back then when I was new to town, I wish someone had done that to me.”

Daniel said she loves her hometown, and said one of the big reasons she volunteers is because she takes pride in it.

“Why not be a part of that?” she asked. “That’s why I continue to do it.”