BY JOSH JARMAN
As a TV cameraman, Larry Rehrig spent 20 years covering hurricanes, racing off to murder scenes and conducting celebrity and political interviews. But, when the time came for a change, the then 45-year-old photographer/reporter made a huge career shift and joined his 19-year-old son, Logan, in school to become a registered nurse.
Today, he’s caring for patients at Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center, just down the street from his son, who works at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center. For father and son, going to school together proved to be a challenging, yet rewarding, new adventure in life—a shared opportunity to make a difference in the world.
Larry grew up in a mobile home community with his parents and two siblings in Slatington, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia. It was there that he wore hand-me-down clothing and spent most of his free time after school helping his dad on construction jobs for extra cash. “I didn’t mind getting picked on at school for being poor,” he said. “I respected the daylights out of my dad. He taught me how to work hard and that losing was never an option.” His positive outlook and relentless desire to overcome the odds first became evident on the wrestling mat in middle and high school. He went on to receive a scholarship to wrestle at Clarion University and graduated from Millersville University.
After a spur-of-the-moment tour of a local television and radio station, Larry realized he wanted to go into journalism. Throughout his career, he interviewed Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou and President Barack Obama during his re-election campaign. He also covered a number of storms, including powerful Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Off camera, things were not always so rosy. His wife, Tina, was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, but fortunately, 15 years later, she is in complete remission. Larry recalls that was the first time in his life that he considered going into the medical field. So, years later, it came as no surprise to Tina when Larry shared that he was inspired by his oldest son, Logan, to go into the nursing field.
Ever the planner, Logan had just graduated from Forsyth Technical Community College on the clinical career path with his Associate degree. As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), he had dreams of one day becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and working in operating rooms. Eager to accomplish his goal, he felt well equipped to tackle every new challenge, or so he thought. “At first, the idea of going to school with my dad was a little embarrassing and awkward,” he said. “But after I got used to it, I actually thought it was kind of cool. Being able to have your dad right there with you as someone who can truly relate to the challenges you are facing made life a bit less stressful.” Fortunately, all of their hard work paid off, when both Larry and Logan went on to graduate from Forsyth Technical Community College as registered nurses in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
“I’ve found some similarities between nursing and television,” said Larry. “Every patient is a person and every person has a story to tell. Of course, I want to know what is going on with my patients from a medical perspective, but also just as fellow human beings. I always want to know more about the people I meet in life.”
Today, Logan works on the neuro-intensive-care unit (ICU) at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center. He also serves on the rapid response team for stroke patients, and he plans to eventually go back to school to complete his CRNA training. Not to be outdone, his dad proudly works just down the road on the orthopedic medical-surgery floor of Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center. He also helps new staff during orientation and fills in from time to time as the nursing house supervisor.
When asked what he still wants to accomplish in life, Larry said, “At 51, I’m only two years into on my new medical career. So, as a rookie, I want to use the time I have left to work alongside my son and to do the very best job I can for my patients, for my family and for the world.”