Ralph Johnson recognized with 2013 Distinguished Service Award

Foundation Dinner Emberton
Above, President Sherilyn Emberton at the Foundation annual dinner. At top, shown, left to right, are Ed Vessels, Foundation president; Barbara Johnson; Ralph Johnson, award recipient; and President Sherilyn Emberton.

HUNTINGTON, Ind. The Huntington University Foundation honored local business owner Ralph Johnson on Thursday evening with the Distinguished Service Award. He was recognized with a framed citation during the Foundation's 75th anniversary dinner.

"I think we picked an excellent 75th anniversary, 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipient," Foundation President Ed Vessels said after presenting Johnson with the award.

The Huntington University Foundation established this award in 2002 to recognize individuals or organizations that embody the principles associated with the mission of the university. Recipients are chosen because they give substance and credence to the university's beliefs, make significant contributions to the Huntington County community and serve as effective role models for students.

As a noted businessman in the Huntington community, Johnson grew his father's old gas and oil distribution business from two trucks into a thriving company today with two divisions, wholesale distribution and retail.

Now retired, the company is run by Johnson's children, Ryan and Darlene. Ryan runs the wholesale division which is operated as Johnson Petroleum, Inc., and Darlene runs the retail division which is operated as Johnson Junction, Inc. Today, the wholesale division has four retail locations as well as a quick lube station, a truck stop/wash, and a warehouse. The retail division operates five gas stations/convenience stores, and the company employs more than 60 individuals.

Since 1938, the Huntington University Foundation has assisted Huntington County residents who attend Huntington University through the annual Huntington County Grant and endowed scholarships. To celebrate the historic 75th anniversary, the Foundation is planning special events throughout the year, including the monthly breakfast series and a giving drive to raise $75,000 for scholarships.

"We want to honor and celebrate our 75th with this special amount," Vessels said.