When people within the Mina community say good things about Tom Bergeron Sr., he passes it off in a joking manner saying they are all just part of his public relations team. Bergeron is well known for his sense of humor and his constant volunteer efforts, which are freely given on behalf of his neighbors that live in Mina and Luning. He is a recognized face within the Mineral County Care and Share groups, as well as being the go-to-guy when someone needs something done.
“I’ve always done volunteer work, because it was something instilled within me by my parents. We were poor people in Connecticut, so my parents would barter and exchange services to meet our family needs. I was raised to learn how to do a little about a lot, while developing basic skills. My father would say, ‘If there’s something to be done, just go do it,’ and I’ve never forgotten his advice.”
Bergeron migrated from the east to work ten years at a power plant in El Segundo, Calif. but it didn’t take him long to desire a more open terrain. He lived in Tonopah for three years then set his sights on Mina, teasing that he knew it was time to move from Tonopah when they threatened to get a traffic light. Settling into the Mina style of living proved to fit his lifestyle and build friendships since 2004.
Explaining that his skill set was ingrained in electrical work, he has experienced many opportunities, including building his own home from the ground up.
“Ironically, I was working so many hours back then, I actually had to hire in an electrician to do the work on my own home in Redding, Conn. I had drawn up all the plans, laid the foundation and did all my own building and wall boarding, but the one thing I had a career doing was the thing I had to farm out.”
In his mid-seventies, he says that he feels himself slowing down, yet his days are frequently packed with a “help-me” list.
“I tell people that I’m younger than trees and older than dirt, so that still lets me climb up on their roof to reset some shingles, or help anchor an antenna or drive the community van. I’ve got a lot left in me to give to others and it sure beats sitting around on my butt doing nothing important.”
Bergeron encourages others to join in the fun, because contributing to another enriches your own life many times over. Humbly convinced that he’ll never stop helping others, he stopped the interview because he had a van load of people to take to the grocery store. One resident from Mina shared, “we wish we could clone him.”