Drager honored at Citizen of the Year Roast

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ Earlier this week, the Marshalltown Morning Optimist Club honored veterinarian Dr. Dennis Drager as its guest of honor during its 2017 Citizen of the Year Roast. Drager, center, looks on as he’s roasted by friend Bill Cassady, left. Afterwards fellow roaster Paul Beals, right, addressed the crowd.

By SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ

TIMES-REPUBLICAN

It was an evening of ribbing, joking around and lots of laughter, at the expense of local veterinarian, Dr. Dennis Drager.

Earlier this week, Dr. Drager was the man of the hour at the annual Marshalltown Morning Optimist Club’s Citizen of the Year Roast, held at Elmwood County Club. Drager received the honor after prior honorees selected him for roasting, based on his active participation in many local and global causes.

Morning Optimist Club co-presidents Bing McHone and Linda Moore, greeted the guests after dinner was served, speaking on behalf of their organization, citing all the local charitable causes evenings such as these help to fund.

Gary Schaudt, who was the 2015 Citizen of the Year, served as emcee.

Friends, colleagues and relatives all took turns at the podium to roast the doctor, including Bill Cassady, Paul Beals, Grant Jacobson, Jason Drager, Denise Drager, and through video message, Drager’s two friends, Ken Anderson and Paul Koehler.

“I guess Dennis couldn’t find a sixth friend who lived in town, so he asked his two friends in Arizona to do a video,” Schaudt said during the introductions.

Drager, who runs the Animal Clinic-The Vet in Marshalltown, couldn’t dodge some teasing from fellow colleague and veterinarian, Dr. Grant Jacobson.

“I don’t know if poking fun at one’s boss is a risk or an opportunity,” Jacobson said to the audience. “People often ask us if Doctor Drager still works here. He says he may go part-time or retire, but how would we know the difference?”

Roaster Paul Beals told various stories of Drager’s years in veterinarian school and career highlights. He poked fun at the doctor’s height and fashion sense, among other perceived shortcomings.

“I told him I’d keep this short tonight, so he could stay awake until then,” Beals said.

Dr. Drager took the jabs and ribbing in stride.

“The Optimist Club does a wonderful job for this community, I can’t emphasis that enough, so I’m happy a lot of people [came to the roast,]” he said. “It’s truly an honor to be chosen. I thank my wife Heidi for the support she gives me, which allows me to be so involved in the community.”

Drager serves as a trustee for the Susie Sower Trust and the Ann C. Keyser Charitable Trust. He is a Vice Commander of the American Legion, an active member of the Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce, is on the Board of the Animal Rescue League of Marshalltown and is soon to become the next president of the Marshalltown Rotary Club.

In 2005, he volunteered his time delivering supplies and caring for lost animals in Mississippi following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He has taken missionary trips to Mexico and Africa, and is working to help provide clean water for the people of South Sudan, as part of his work with Rotary and as a board member of WellSpring Missions.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com