Feb 20, 2012 9:52 PM by Erin Schermele (Great Falls)

GFDA announces Fire Within recipients

The Great Falls Development Authority has announced its 2012 "Fire Within" recipients.

Sandy Johnson-Thares, the general manager of the O'Haire Motor Inn, is this year's Inspire winner, which is presented to a woman who serves as a role model for other business owners.

She has been with the O'Haire for 19 years and is also the chair of the Great Falls Lodging Association.

Johnson-Thares said, "It's very important that we remember (that) although we are very busy in our businesses day to day, that we need to give back to our community by volunteering our time to help others, and I think that is a lot of what the Inspire award is all about."

Kari Lane-Johnson, owner of My Viola Floral Studio, is this year's Aspire winner.

After 13 years in the floral business, Johnson started her own shop last year; she noted, "It makes me aspire to be a better business person and to take part more in the community."

The awards recognize women business owners who not only provide service to the Great Falls area, but are also dedicated to giving back to the community.

The women will receive their awards at a banquet at the end of March.