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‘A great man in Fort Dodge’

McGaughy honored as Hero of the Cruise

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Casey Johnson, left, presents a plaque to Crystal McGaughy which honors her late husband, David McGaughy, as the Hero of the Cruise Friday evening. Each year, a Hero of the Cruise is honored during the Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Ja-Mar Cruise which is held closest to Independence Day. The award recognizes a veteran who has served his community and fellow veterans.

The late Dave McGaughy spent 36 years serving his state and his country. During that time, he was also doing whatever he could to support his fellow service members and veterans.

That track record made McGaughy “a great man in the city of Fort Dodge,” according to Casey Johnson, owner of Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota.

McGaughy’s selfless service also led to him being named the Hero of the Cruise during Friday’s Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Ja-Mar Cruise-In held at the dealership, 2723 Fifth Ave. S.

Casey Johnson presented McGaughy’s widow, Crystal McGaughy, with the Hero of the Cruise plaque.

“Dave was very, very proud of his military service,” Crystal McGaughy said.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Deb Johnson, center, presents Crystal McGaughy with a framed copy of an advertisement from The Messenger which announced that her late husband, David McGaughy, would be named the Hero of the Cruise. That honor was bestowed Friday evening during the Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Ja-Mar Cruise. Casey Johnson, left, holds the Hero of the Cruise plaque. Isabella Johnson and Matt Johnson watch at right. The Johnson family owns Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota.

Pausing to fight back tears, she added “He would have been so humbled.”

McGaughy died March 27 at age 55.

He began his service to his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps. After his service as a Marine, he joined the Iowa Air National Guard, where he served as a recruiter for the 133rd Test Squadron in Fort Dodge.

Upon finally retiring from the military, he went to work at the Fort Dodge office of the Social Security Administration.

Altogether, he had 36 years of military and government service.

He was a member of the Marine Corps League and the American Legion. He was president of the local chapter of the American Legion Riders. He was also the vice president of the Enlisted Association of the Iowa Air National Guard.

On Memorial Day, he was named the Veteran of the Year by the Fort Dodge Veterans Council.

Crystal McGaughy said a fundraising motorcycle ride was recently held in his honor that raised about $81,000.

She said that money was split between four organizations that were important to him: Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight, Terry Moehnke Veterans Memorial Park, Gypsum City OHV Park and the Marine Corps League.

“His positivity and smile were contagious,” said Matt Johnson, general manager of the dealership. “We couldn’t be more happy and proud and honored by his friendship.”

The Hero of the Cruise presentation was made in the middle of the dealership’s parking lot, which was filled with antique, classic and custom cars. So it was appropriate that Casey Johnson’s last story about Dave McGaughy involved a car.

He said that several years ago he saw David McGaughy in the showroom, looking at a Ford Mustang GT Shelby. He said McGaughy said something like “This is pretty nice.”

At that point, Matt Johnson asked him if he wanted to drive it in the next Frontier Days parade.

When that parade started, Dave McGaughy was behind the wheel.

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