When a member of the Fort Dodge-based Iowa Air National Guard unit began filling out an award nomination form more than a year ago, he hoped to get a small plaque to thank his civilian boss for supporting his military career.
The small plaque was not awarded.
Instead, Senior Airman Randale Meyer of the 133rd Test Squadron and Matt Johnson, the co-owner and manager of Allied Investment Properties LLC in Fort Dodge, received a national award from the Air Force Association.
They are the recipients of the 2013 George W. Bush Award for Air National Guard Members and Employers.
''I was floored,'' Johnson said of getting the award.
Meyer was also surprised by the honor.
''Originally, I thought it was just a small employer award,'' he said.
''It's pretty significant that a small town like Fort Dodge and a small unit like we have here would get this award,'' he added. ''This is something that usually goes to big defense contractors. It was definitely cool when we found out.''
Meyer, of Webster City, is a surveillance technician with the squadron. His job is to identify the various aircraft detected by the unit's radar.
The Marine Corps veteran joined the squadron three years ago.
In civilian life, he's a maintenance man for Allied Investment Properties LLC and takes care of rental properties.
''Randy's really good,'' Johnson said. ''He's constantly bringing up ideas for improving processes. I think that comes from his military background. He tries to bring order to the chaos of the rental business.''
During a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Meyer and Johnson were presented with plaques, a statuette and painting of a jet fighter soaring over the Pentagon.