The Sedalia community is invited to celebrate the life of Patrick Kent Gwaltney today, all while raising money for students.
Gwaltney, well-known in the local youth sports community, died last July at the age of 51 when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike on state Route HH. An event will take place tonight to celebrate him and raise money for the Patrick Kent Gwaltney Memorial Scholarship.
The event includes a performance from local band Dirt Road Addiction, followed by a DJ, a live and silent auction, chicken dinner and big screen TVs for basketball fans to watch NCAA games, said Ron Ditzfeld, of Ditzfeld Transfer, a friend of Gwaltney’s and one of several event organizers.
Gwaltney was a Smith-Cotton High School graduate who owned and operated Patrick Kent’s Lounge in Sedalia for several years, followed by working for 12 years at Ditzfeld Transfer. Those who knew him realize that hosting the event on St. Patrick’s Day is no coincidence.
“A lot of us, me included, knew he was passionate about St. Patrick’s Day, people called him St. Patrick Kent. Some of us thought it was his birthday, and when he passed we finally found out his birthday was in January,” Ditzfeld said laughing. “He loved St. Paddy’s Day, we’re hoping to make this an annual tradition each year in memory of his life on St. Patrick’s Day — have a party in honor of St. Patrick Kent from Sedalia, Missouri.”
A lifelong Oklahoma Sooners fan, Gwaltney was also active in the local athletics community, coaching several area youth teams.
“He was huge in sports, he just loved sports,” Ditzfeld said. “He coached kids, many kids and parents knew him from coaching kids in football and basketball. He also reffed a lot. He lived and died by the sports programs. … That was his love and passion. He was just a super great guy, always happy, a jokester.”
To honor Gwaltney and his love of sports, Ditzfeld has set up a scholarship at State Fair Community College in Gwaltney’s memory that will be presented to an athlete each year to help them attend SFCC. Proceeds from tonight’s event will go to the scholarship fund.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. today at the MEC Building on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. Dirt Road Addiction will play from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at Perkins or Fitter’s or at the door. Ditzfeld said friends and family previously sold green Patrick Kent T-shirts, and anyone who wears it to the event will receive free admission.
“We’re hoping lots of people that knew Kent through sports, the bar, Ditzfeld, whatever, come out, have a drink and remember him and tell a Kent story on St. Patrick Kent’s Day,” Ditzfeld said.
For more information, call 660-530-3128 or find “Patrick Kent Gwaltney Memorial” on Facebook.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.