KENYON, Minn. (FOX 47) – The tight-knit communities of Kenyon and Wanamingo are rallying around a high school football player, as he fights for his life.
A crash just south of Wanamingo last Thursday morning took the life of Gregory Gresseth, a Kenyon-Wanamingo graduate.
Current K-W student, Micah Johnson who was flown to Mayo Clinic-Saint Marys, has made great improvements since Thursday, but still has a long road ahead of him as he recovers.
In the meantime, the students and staff are doing what they can to support his recovery.
Support for Micah came out Thursday at a volleyball game as soon as community members knew he was fighting for his life.
“We chose to use that as an opportunity to acknowledge what had happened in the community, recognize the lose of life, and the battle that Micah was going through at that time,” said Jeff Pesta, Kenyon-Wanamingo School Superintendent.
On Friday, the football team made the decision to still play their scheduled game against St. Clair in Micah’s honor.
“It was a pretty emotional Friday, but we all decided that playing was in our best interest,” said teammate Alec Nesseth. “Mike would have wanted us to play anyways.”
With support from the other team, the first play of the game was played with 10 members on each side instead of the usual 11, symbolizing Micah’s absence from the field.
“On the field he’s a fullback for us, he’s a middle linebacker for us, he’s a punter for us… a little of everything for us,” said Elementary Teacher and Football Coach Jake Wieme. “If we need something to get done, he’s usually a big part of getting it done.”
Wieme describes the senior captain as a good kid, hard working, determined, and above all else — a fighter.
“He’s the toughest guy I know,” said teammate Kaya Lindell. “Without a doubt.”
As a sense of normal slowly returns, students have been writing the number “6”, Micah’s football number, on their wrists to stay positive.
Over the weekend, cheerleaders hung posters in the hallways where students can write words of encouragement.
“We have a little sticker on our right side ear that says ‘MJ6’ on it for Micah on the side of our football helmets,” said Nesseth.
Micah’s teammates are thankful for all the support from the community and wanted to pass along a message to him.
“Just keep fighting Mike,” said teammate Will Hudson. “When you see this, you’ve put up a hell-of-a fight so far and this is just a minor set back for a major come back.”