MILWAUKEE — A young survivor of the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack is headed on the road with the Milwaukee Brewers!
Tyler Pudleiner got that surprise before Wednesday’s game at American Family Field.
“I told him that I got last-minute tickets, and I could take the day off work to go with him,” said Katti Pudleiner, Tyler’s mom. “He didn’t suspect anything different. I totally pulled it off.”
“I didn’t really figure it out at all,” said Tyler. “She told me we were going to the game, then all a sudden we were ushered through the stadium. It was crazy.”
Tyler was brought down to the field to throw out the first pitch, which he nailed! Fans and Brewers players cheered him on.
Then, Tyler’s idol, Craig Counsell, walked towards the mound and presented him with an all-expense paid trip for Tyler and his mom to attend Tuesday’s Brewers vs. Pirates game in Pittsburgh.
“I had no words, I just kept shaking his hand,” said Tyler. "Counsell has always been my idol. He’s my all-time favorite player and now manager. I’ve always worn his number.”
This surprise and awesome gift were made possible by Aurora Health Care.
Tyler was rushed to Aurora’s Medical Center in Summit after he was injured during the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack. He underwent surgery and treatment there.
“My doctors and nurses have become like family,” said Tyler. “They really helped us get through those first few days, and they still check on me.”
In addition to his medical team, Tyler credits baseball with helping him and others heal.
The love of the sport is shared by many of the young people and families directly impacted by the parade tragedy.
"I think the game has brought all of our Waukesha Strong family together through these tough times,” said Tyler. “It’s a real way to connect. My friend and teammate Erick Tiegs recovered from his very serious injuries to play again. The youngest victim, Jackson Sparks, loved the sport. The Waukesha Blazers baseball team was in the parade and impacted by it. I think our love for the sport has helped so many of us recover and come together.”
He was recently able to return to playing baseball at his high school. Upon his return, his coach framed a #30 jersey (in honor of Counsell) as a gift from the team.
This isn't the first surprise for Tyler. On Thanksgiving, he was surprised with a video message from NFL star J.J. Watt and some Cardinals gear to lift his spirits.