LONGMONT -- Anyone who has been to a prep sporting event in the St. Vrain Valley School District has probably seen Larry West.
West works as a grounds manager in the operations and maintenance department for SVVSD. Along with several others from the maintenance department and a group of part-timers, he is the driving force behind ensuring St. Vrain student-athletes have a place to play.
He gets a paycheck for his work like everyone else. But West's work means more to him.
"It's really all about the kids," the 55-year-old West said recently. "When you get into the sports and you start working with the kids and the coaches, you probably get more out of that than you do the wages, if you wish. It gives you a feeling like you're giving back something to the community."
For every event at Everly-Montgomery Field, from fifth-grade field day to high school playoff football, West is probably on-site somewhere.
SVVSD now has five artificial turf fields -- two at Longmont High and one each at Mead, Frederick and Erie. West uses the grooming and de-compacting equipment to keep the turf in order, extend the fields' life and make the surface safer for athletes.
Among the many things West does year-round, he also does district-wide inspections on bleachers and basketball standards, and he plows snow during the winter. During the spring, he helps maintain baseball fields.
While catering to the needs of visiting coaches and media and ensuring everything runs smoothly, West doesn't have much time to watch the games. But he tries to keep up with the local teams as much as possible.
"Every once in a while you'll get one of these kids come up and shake your hand and thank you for what you're doing," West said. "That really makes it worth your while."
Longmont High's All-American punter and kicker Miles Bergner, who spends countless hours on the turf practicing, personally thanked West for his work on the Everly-Montgomery uprights. Born and raised in Longmont, West graduated from LHS, where he played football for a year until he got a job. But he tries to treat all the local teams the same.
Each year, West helps run the St. Vrain Invitational track meet, which has grown into one of the bigger events in the state.
"He does a great job. He obviously takes a lot of pride in the facility and how people are treating it," Lyons track and cross country coach Mark Roberts said. "When we run those meets, we're there early and we stay late. He's obviously available. It's great to have somebody like him available and, in my opinion, that's one of the best track facilities in the state."
Of course, there are plenty of football coaches who recognize what West does.
"He's fantastic," Longmont football coach Doug Johnson said. "He goes above and beyond."
Since it opened four years ago, West's position is still growing and evolving. As it does, he intends to be around for a while.
"I would like to be able to do this until I'm ready to retire," West said. "I like this."
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