Johnson honored for leading Coshocton County Fatherhood Initiative

| September 18, 2015
Honor: William Johnson smiles with some of the gifts that were presented to him during a Coshocton County Fatherhood Initiative appreciation dinner held Sept. 17, at the Pomerene Center for the Arts. Beacon photo by Mark Fortune

Honor: William Johnson smiles with some of the gifts that were presented to him during a Coshocton County Fatherhood Initiative appreciation dinner held Sept. 17, at the Pomerene Center for the Arts. Beacon photo by Mark Fortune

COSHOCTON – William Johnson is very appreciative of the people who have helped him make a success out of the Coshocton County Fatherhood Initiative.

“Without the committee we would not have a fatherhood initiative,” he said. “You have to have a working team behind every head person.”

Johnson organized a recognition dinner for Sept. 17, at the Pomerene Center for the Arts to thank those who help him with events and assisted in getting the organization up and running, but before he knew it, the evening became about thanking him.

When Johnson was done making his presentations, Frank Polen announced that he and other core members of the Coshocton County Fatherhood Initiative had a video to share that highlighted past events put on by the group. However, the video also let Johnson know that tonight was about celebrating him. In the video, members of his committee let him know how considerate and dedicated he is to the fatherhood initiative’s mission of strengthening the family unit through engaging and empowering fathers and father figures to be meaningfully involved in and committed to their child’s well being.

“He never looks for recognition, but is always quick to show recognition and gratitude to others for their work,” said Tonya Lock, who helps with the fatherhood initiative.

A smile spread across Johnson’s face while he listened to his team members kind words.

“As much as you honored all of us, tonight is truly about honoring you,” Polen said. “Thank you.”

Johnson received several gifts of appreciation from those in attendance including Monica Mahoney from the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood.

“I’ve worked with William on and off for several years and he is a constant inspiration to me,” she said. “Every time he calls me I want to return his call right away. I’m excited to be a small part of what he is doing here.”

According to a proclamation presented to Johnson by Coshocton City Mayor Steve Mercer, the local fatherhood initiative is one of Ohio’s most active and serves thousands of area fathers and children.

“This whole night for me was about the committee,” Johnson said. “For a group of people who step up every time they are called, I just felt compelled to do something. They deserved this evening, but then they turned the table and said, ‘got you.’ I thank each and every one of you for coming.”

He was starting to get a little suspicious that something was going on when people who weren’t on his initial guest list showed up at the dinner.

“It really got me when Seth Orban (a former chairman of the fatherhood initiative) showed up,” Johnson said. “He lives in West Virginia and I just talked to him the other day and he didn’t say a word about coming here. I was definitely surprised.”

Polen ended the evening by thanking everyone for attending.

“Each and every one of you made it a special night and William, it was about you,” he said.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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