Larry and Cheryl Battson of Greenwood, Ind., have been coming to Warsaw for more than 30 years with their Amazing World of Animals show. Over the years they have brought snakes, lizards, a wolf, a baboon, turtles and more each year to entertain and educate students at Warsaw elementary schools about conservation, and environmental management.
They made a special trip to Eisenhower Elementary this past Thursday at the request of Principal Chris Gensinger. Hundreds of students and parents were in attendance for this unusual evening show.
Earlier this year, Larry was diagnosed with Melanoma, a type of cancer, and recently had surgery on his leg to remove a tumor. Because of expense of the surgery and the ensuing treatment, Larry and Cheryl were becoming concerned with how to continue to pay for the feeding and care of their many animals.
Gensinger, a friend of the Battsons, became aware of the situation. One thing led to another and the Eisenhower Student Council decided to “adopt” Larry, Cheryl and their animals for Christmas this year.
During the course of 9 school days, the kids at Eisenhower Elementary were invited to bring in donations of money and unsalted peanuts (one of the less perishable foods that Battson feeds the animals) to help out this year. Battson was told of this project and was invited to come to school last Thursday for a special evening animal show and receive the students’ donations.
By Thursday afternoon, the students and staff of Eisenhower had raised over $4,300 for Battson and his animals. Several hundred dollars were collected the night of the show, bringing the total just short of $5,000.
Battson and his wife were visibly moved by the generosity of Eisenhower Elementary. Gensinger received an email from Larry and Cheryl around 2 a.m. Thursday night. They were still shocked and unable to sleep from all the excitement of the evening.
Gensinger said he knew his students were a great group of kind and generous kids, but even he was shocked at the amount of money the kids brought in.
More information about Larry, Cheryl and their Amazing World of Animals can be found at www.larrytheanimalguy.com.