January 9th, 2015

Hyland's Heroes: Joe Bergamini

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Joe Bergamini
Joe Bergamini is a St. X alum and is now a volunteer at Mercy / photo provided by Joe Bergamini

The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland Insurance. "Hyland's Heroes" is a series of profiles that spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports.

Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero”? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

Joe Bergamini has been a lifelong resident of Louisville and is a product of the Archdiocese of Louisville. Bergamini attended Guardian Angels and St. Barnabas for grade school and then attended St. Xavier high school.

He played baseball and basketball at both the grade school and high school level. He then walked on as a basketball player at Bellarmine.

Now, Bergamini is a volunteer at Mercy Academy. His daughter Maggie Joe attended Mercy from 2008 to 2012 and played field hockey and basketball and ran track. 

When and how did you get your start with Mercy Academy?

I became involved at Mercy when my daughter Maggie Jo started there as a freshmen in the fall of 2008. We knew some things about Mercy going in because three of Maggie`s cousins – Erin Dunn, Stephanie Edelen and Jessica Thomas – had previously attended Mercy.  

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

Mercy invites all parents to become involved with the school and their daughters in a variety of ways. I was lucky enough to have the time to take advantage of this opportunity and became an active member of the Benefit Off Broadway Dinner and Auction Committee and the Mercy Academy Parents Association.

What sports did or do you volunteer to help and for how long?

Maggie was able to play field hockey and basketball for four years and ran track for two years. Because Maggie was so involved, I found myself being at Mercy throughout the school year.

As parents, we would try to volunteer whenever any of the sports asked for help. We mostly worked the concession stand, sold tickets, cleaned up after events and performed other duties. When Maggie graduated in 2012, they asked if I would stay on as a “Past Parent.” I was more than happy to do so.

What`s the connection with your faith and giving your time to student athletes?

It is amazing when you look at the number of people who volunteer and give their time to help out the school and the girls who attend Mercy. I think part of the reason people do help out is because our faith does ask us to give back of ourselves in appreciation of all the blessings that have been given to us. 

Who was the most influential person on your volunteer career? Why?

Growing up my Mom and Dad were very active in volunteer work. In fact, they still volunteer when they can. It seems like my wife, Annette, is always doing something to help someone out. Our daughter and all the other girls at Mercy learn how to serve thanks to an absolutely incredible service program at the school. The Xaverian Brothers, the Little Sisters of the Poor and the people who work with the Kosair Children`s Hospital also provide great examples of how to serve others.

What are your major themes / principles as a volunteer?

To try and make sure I am actually being of help and not just in the way. To try to do exactly what it is they need to be done. To try and make sure that I am working hard for them.

What does your role at Mercy Academy bring to you or your family?

They say it is in giving that you receive. I have found this to be very true. We have been blessed with great friendships and great times. If we had not become involved at Mercy, we would have missed out on meeting so many great people and making great memeories.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of your volunteer time?

There are so many that it is hard to narrow it down to a few. However, there is one moment a few years back that I think speaks volumes of the kind of people who run Mercy Academy. We were cleaning up after the Mercy Benefit Off Broadway Dinner and Auction.

As always, among those there to help was the school President, Mr. Mike Johnson. At one point, we noticed that he was gone. We eventually found him out back inside of one of those big garbage cans cleaning it out with rags.

However, this is pretty much the norm for the administration, the teachers, the coaches and staff. They care so very much about that school and those girls. My wife and I will always be so very appreciative of what they did for our daughter and that it is why I am still involved with Mercy Academy to this day.


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