Financial advisor Gary Schaudt honored at yearly event

It’s that time of year again, when the Morning Optimist Club of Marshalltown holds its annual Citizen of the Year Roast of a worthy member of the community. This year’s honor went to Gary Schaudt, a financial planner at SagePoint Financial in Marshalltown.

The roast, with a theme of “Peace, Love and Surf” was held Thursday night at the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown where the festivities kicked off with a 6 p.m. Happy Hour meet-and-greet, open to anyone with a ticket for the dinner and roast. Tables were adorned with tiki-themed decorations, foreshadowing the jokes to come. Next, a lavish prime rib dinner was served at 7 p.m. and Morning Optimist Club President Diane Hall gave a brief speech.

While guests finished their meal, Joe Hannam took to the stage, serving as Master of Ceremonies and narrator of a “colorful” slideshow. Six roasters, brother Pastor Dana Schaudt, cousin Andy Vespestad, and friends Peggy Hannam, Lette Lane, Heather VanBuren and Kari Kilstrom each stepped up to the microphone and treated the crowd to some good-natured ribbing at the honoree’s expense, Schaudt, laughing frequently.

Schaudt was a male cheerleader in high school, known for performing the surfer move “the wipe-out”, which bore the brunt of many jokes during the program. Roaster Peggy Hannam even presented Schaudt with a surf board carved from wood provided by the Roundhouse Renovation project, a local committee Schaudt co-chairs.

Schaudt, 50, was born in Sac City, raised in Marshalltown, and currently resides on an acreage in Marshall County. He attended school at the University of Iowa then traveled around the country with his job, settling back into the area and becoming an active member of the community.

He was selected for this award through votes cast by past Citizen of the Year winners who based their decision on Schaudt’s public service record. He is a Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and is the president of the Board of Directors of the Marshalltown Community College Foundation, among other distinctions.

While the night’s jokes and zingers ran the gamut – some stories edgier than others – the audience left with a deeper appreciation for Schaudt’s civic involvement, extensive resume and fun sense of humor.

“He jokes all the time,” said guest Marcie Harvey.

Proceeds from the Morning Optimist Club’s roast go to youth-centered programs in the area. The organization meets Tuesday mornings at Cecil’s Cafe at 6:30 a.m.

“I am willing to be the brunt of jokes if it raises money for a good cause. It’s just a fun night.” Schaudt said.


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