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Special gift among items recovered from Waukesha parade tragedy

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Waukesha memorial

Special Gift Among Recovered Items

WAUKESHA (WKOW) -- A special gift emerged from the items abandoned in the panic of the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy.

Many camp chairs, blankets, baby strollers and other belongings were recovered and made available for parade-goers to retrieve Tuesday and Wednesday at the Waukesha Parks Department on Aviation Drive.

Ethel Marshall was initially hopeful her teenage grandson Tyler Pudleiner's smart watch would have been found. Marshall said Pudleiner was playing tenor saxophone with the Waukesha South High School Marching Band when the driver of a red SUV hit him and many others in the parade route.
"He was unfortunately on the outside of the line," Marshall says. "He's in the ICU. He's gone through two surgeries," she says.

"He live chatted me," Marshall said, as the teenager's mother keeps a vigil by the boy's bedside. "It broke my heart when I saw his face," she said. "But it was just good to see him and know that he was alive."

Darrell Brooks, 39, has been charged with five counts of first degree intentional homicide for allegedly driving into parade goers, killing six and injuring more than sixty Sunday. Authorities said Brooks was fleeing a domestic violence scene and is expected to be charged with a sixth homicide count after the death of an eight year old boy who was at the parade.

Marshall was joined by many in arriving at the Parks department location to reclaim possessions. Trauma counselor John Christensen was there to assist anyone who was in need. Christensen said taking a proactive step to retrieve items can help with the healing process.

"Just coming over here, seeing all the other (camp) chairs: 'I'm not alone, there are others that are doing this,' " Christensen said of the experience for some parade-goers.

In addition to coming to the reclaim location, Marshall says she also called officials in search of her injured grandson's watch. "Met with the paramedics that actually helped Tyler and they went out and searched the ambulance," she says. "And they couldn't find it and they felt so bad."

A teenager's indispensable possession was nowhere to be found at the Parks department. But Marshall received something else.

"When the lady inside here heard about the story, she was just compelled to go out and get him a new watch," Marshall said. 

"I'm just overwhelmed with it," Marshall said. "And she's invited to pick me up for Thanksgiving dinner, otherwise I'd be alone."

The Parks department retrieval center will be open again Monday. After her center visit, one grandmother will provide an injured grandson something to smile about through the pain and discomfort. And she's experiencing joy after so many hours and days of grief and anguish.

"It's just wonderful."