Tammy Helmer-Bergen speaks with a visitor during the seventh annual Tom Bergen Bowling Tournament.

By Dave Warner

For the seventh year, the Tom Bergen Memorial Autism Awareness Bowling Tournament was held at RD’s Gorge View Lanes in Little Falls. The memorial tournament is spearheaded by Tammy Helmer-Bergen, Guardianship Coordinator at Arc Herkimer, to honor her son, Tom, who had autism and passed away suddenly in 2016.

She said that despite the large snowstorm that was winding down on Saturday, they had 78 bowlers in three squads. “Considering the weather, we did well. It’s the same group that comes out each year. Most of them knew Tom, or they’re avid bowlers.”

Helmer-Bergen said that some of the bowlers have autism in their families. “This is important to them. They’ve been very faithful.”

The format of the event was much like that of previous years. “I’ve had a lot of people who bowl say this is their favorite tournament. It’s something that we’ll keep going.”

“Everything went well, people had a great time, and it’s a cause that’s important to everyone. It’s definitely important to myself and the family. To have this kind of turnout and the people that are faithful and bowl all six squads, it means a lot and it would mean a lot to Tom,” she stated.