Making winners on the wrestling mat and friends off: Donnie Heimbach, Boyertown Citizen of the Year

by Holly Herman, Reading Eagle

Posted on March 11, 2019

Article originally appeared here:

Pointing to a framed poster with the names of nearly three dozen Boyertown High School state wrestling qualifiers, Donald "Donnie" Heimbach is proud.

He's proud of all the wrestlers, including many whom he coached as youth wrestlers in the 1980s, when he put Boyertown on the map as one of the top wrestling programs in Pennsylvania.

In the 1980s, Heimbach was active in the Boyertown Youth wrestling program for youngsters in Pine Forge, Douglass Township, Berks County. The program has expanded into the entire 100-square-mile district.

"I have a passion for wrestling," Heimbach said, standing in a new wrestling practice room he helped build with his son Josh, in the basement of the Boyertown Lions Community Ambulance Service Inc. building. "The wrestling community is like a family."

But Heimbach, 66, of Douglass Township doesn't take credit for that or any other accomplishment.

Wrestling is one of the many ways Heimbach gave to the Boyertown-area community. He's also been active in the Relay for Life, Gift of Life and St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Heimbach, owner of Donald R. Heimbach Building Co., Boyertown, built homes and did remodeling projects for many of the residents in the Boyertown area.

For his devotion to his community, Heimbach was named Boyertown's 2019 Citizen of the Year in the 65th annual event in which community members select winners in several categories. Other winners are Tony Boyd, outstanding first responder; Mackenzie Engle, outstanding high school senior; and Loretta Pavie, outstanding mentor. The Boyertown Junior Women's Club also won a special recognitions award.

The winners will be honored during the Citizens Award Gala on April 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.

James Davidheiser, a Boyertown insurance marketing executive and event organizer, said the winners were selected by a board of community members, noting the event this year is sponsored by the Berks-Mont Business Association.

"Donny is unbelievable," Davidheiser said, admiring the new wrestling room. "He's a very positive person. He's the only one I know who does not gossip. He is never negative about anything."

At St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Heimbach is working on a remodeling project. He's also served as an usher for 40 years.

The Rev. Robert Machamer of St. John's, 45 N. Reading Ave., said Heimbach is humble about everything in life.

"He is the guy who would never look for an award," Machamer said.

All in the family

Heimbach grew up in Boyertown.

His parents, Walter and Evelyn Heimbach, moved to Boyertown from Earl Township. He has two brothers, Walter Jr., 68; and David, 67; and one sister, LuAnn, 65.

He and his wife, Mary Kay, have four children: Heather, 45, Josh, 42, Klint, 37, and Jill, 30.

The entire family participates in youth wrestling, coaching, preparing food and fundraisers.

Heimbach said he looks forward to seeing everyone at the gala event. But he does not believe the day is about him.

"I am not the main attraction," he said. "There are hundreds of others who are more deserving."

After the gala, Heimbach said he and his family will participate in the 24th annual Gift of Life walk in Philadelphia in memory of his granddaughter, Ally Heintz, who died at age 3 of gastroschisis in 2008.

"You have to give back to your community," Heimbach said. "There are a lot of people in Boyertown, and they sure do not ask for anything."

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