Turkey Valley third graders in John Reicks’ classroom are helping former Trojan Larry Bergmann get back on his feet after heart transplant surgery. (Photo submitted)
Turkey Valley third graders in John Reicks’ classroom are helping former Trojan Larry Bergmann get back on his feet after heart transplant surgery. (Photo submitted)
As part of Turkey Valley’s mission of spreading kindness and compassion to everyone they meet, the Turkey Valley third grade class recently showed its support for a 1973 Trojan graduate and former wrestling teammate and friend of TV third grade teacher John Reicks.
The Lawler community, spearheaded by Verna Orvis, recently held a fundraiser to help defray medical expenses for lifelong Lawler resident, Larry Bergmann, 61.
Bergmann is a 1973 graduate of Turkey Valley and was the first TV state wrestling champion in 1972 while wrestling at 119 pounds. He was a two-time state place winner.
Bergmann suffered a major heart attack 10 years ago, which has limited his ability to work at his job at Kohlmeyer, Inc. of Lawler. His heart function became so poor that a year ago he had a heart pump installed to buy him more time until he could receive a heart transplant. In November of 2016, Bergmann was fortunate enough to be a heart transplant recipient, with his surgery being done at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinic. Bergmann has returned home to recuperate and is doing well. He makes regular trips to Iowa City to be tested for rejection and is on many medications.
As part of the fundraising event to help defray some of Bergmann’s medical expenses, Reicks purchased “Larry Bergmann’s Got a Good Heart” T-shirts for everyone in the Turkey Valley third grade class.
“I was very happy the TV third graders and I were able to help Larry in a very small way,” commented Reicks. “Larry and I were frequent wrestling workout partners and Trojan teammates for three seasons during the glory years of Trojan wrestling. I remember watching him win his state title in 1972, becoming the first state wrestling champion in school history. He was the underdog in his title match but defeated defending state champion Stu Newman of Perry 2-2, 5-0 in overtime to take home the crown. Larry inspired so many future Trojan wrestlers with his great accomplishments, myself included. Now it is our turn to help him. While he has faced many health challenges over the past 10 years, Larry has always kept battling, just like he did when he was wrestling for the state title many years ago. It is so fitting that he has the opportunity to regain his health through this gift of life.
“As a class and a school community, we talked about what wonderful things we can do when we work together and show kindness and compassion to one another,” concluded Reicks. “Larry Bergmann always had the ‘heart of a champion’ and the TV third graders want to wish him nothing but the best on his road to recovery.”