Carrying On Tyler's Legacy - even through his death.
Tyler was the youngest of 4 children. From the time he was born on a snowy, cold Monday morning in Columbus, Ohio, Tyler had a talent for effortlessly capturing the hearts of everyone he met. Always happy, always caring, to know Tyler, was to know joy, friendship, love and happiness.
Tyler grew up being very close to his family. He had a special, unique bond with both of his two brothers and his sister. Although he was the youngest, he often seemed to be the "leader" and the one person that everyone in the family looked up to.
Tyler was a worker. He worked from the time he was just 14 years old, starting as a bus boy and food runner and working his way up to cook. Tyler loved to cook and loved to experiement with food dishes. He would often whip up gourmet meals for his family and was always the designated cook for Sunday breakfast after an overnight get together with his friends.
He was a football fan, especially when it came to the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. It was a rare occassion for Tyler to miss a Monday Night football game. For quite a long time, we were sure Tyler would grow up to be a sportscaster. For Tyler's 18th birthday, he was given tickets to the Browns / Ravens game and got to go to the game with father, whom he loved greatly but rarely got to see since he lives in Ohio. His older brother also went with them to make the game even more special!
But Tyler's true passion was helping people. He became a volunteer firefighter / EMT at 16. Being a career firefighter became his life goal. His dream was to work "truck" and do search and rescue - he wanted to save lives. He was brave and dedicated. He loved his firehouse and his fellow firefighters that he referred to as "his brothers".
Tyler's dream came to an end on April 10, 2013. Tyler was a passenger, sitting in the rear passenger seat, the same side that was impacted during the high speed collision.
It was Tyler's own firehouse that was dispatched as the first responders to the horrific crash that took Tyler's life. But upon arrival, it was clear that there was nothing that could be done to save the life of their brother, their friend.
Tyler was killed instantly on impact. His body was crushed. His injuries included a ruptured aorta, a severed brain stem, an obliterated spinal canal, several skull fractures, massive brain hemorage, a fractured jaw, broken teeth, a fructured right humerus, a fractured pelvis, broken ribs, two broken femurs, open leg fractures with macerated bones and muscles, lacerated kidneys, a lacerated liver, spleen, intestine, bowel and bladder, and a crushed chest with lung contusions.
Tyler had worked hard to ensure a promising future. But in the blink of an eye, a driver's wreckless decision put an end to that future. And from that very moment, a loving family has to bear a lifetime of devastation and heartache.
Many nights Tyler had to work late and would not get home until midnight or later. But he treasured the relationship he had with his family, and even on these late nights, would sit and talk with his mom or brother and tell us about his day - even when we all had to get up early the next day! He would sit on the edge of my bed, drink his favorite Wawa Peach Tea, and talk just so we could stay connected! To this day, I still have the last bottle of peach tea that he drank while talking with me. It has been rinsed out and sits on a stand in my bedroom, right next to his picture. This small memoir has become a treasured item for me to remember the wonderful late night conversations that I will never again have with my son.
It is our hope that this tragedy will make teens think twice before driving aggressively. It is our hope to keep Tyler's legacy alive, and save other teens from suffering these horrible fatal injuries and spare the families from eternal heartbreak.
A favorite tradtion for Tyler was coming home on the first day of school each year to warm, just-baked, chocolate chip cookies. The first day of school became known as "Cookie Day".
This was a tradtion that Tyler loved, and was going to pass down to his own children. Unfortantutely, Tyler will never have that opportunity.
Your Legacy Will Live Forever
December 6, 1993 - April 10, 2013