#WyattStrong takes to the ice for fundraiser event at Riverside Arena
(ABC 6 News) — It doesn’t matter whether folks know Wyatt Hamlin personally or at all.
An Austinite is an Austinite, and the people of Spamtown flocked to Riverside Arena for a fun night of hockey. A fitting way to raise money for a boy who is a hockey kid at heart.
Following a July 29 drunk driver-involved car accident, Wyatt Hamlin continues to recover in Rochester, miles away from Austin as his loved ones keep him in their thoughts.
“Most of our hockey team has seen him,” Packers boys hockey teammate Grady Carney stated. “And now that he’s awake and doing better we can see him more now.”
“I was pretty far away, so there was nothing I could really do,” fellow teammate Gahvin Schaefer said when recounting the accident. “But it just kind of — it was a little bit hard to sleep that night.”
Riverside Arena hosted a silent auction Saturday to support his recovery, also putting together alumni hockey games. Visitors could say hello to Hamlin through an iPad, the young Packer watching through a laptop while in recovery. Though he couldn’t be seen or heard by those in Austin, his spirit couldn’t be brought down.
“We can call him, just talk to him like normal now, so it’s pretty nice,” Schaefer added.
“Now that he’s awake, we see his personality is there,” Danielle Finley, a family friend of Hamlin, noted. “His humor is there, he’ll be back, he’ll be back definitely.”
The resiliency of Hamlin is almost too good to believe for his mother, Sheila White, who couldn’t be more grateful for how quickly Austin has come to her and her son’s aid.
“He is just like a really kind soul,” White emotionally affirmed. “I’ve never had an adult that’s been around him not welcome him… I mean he has friends that he’d call and say, ‘Hey, can I spend the night?’ (I’d) call the mom, ‘Oh, he’s welcome here any time. He’s more polite than my kid when he’s here.’ He’s just has a very kind soul and he’s a happy boy.”
There’s good progress for Wyatt, he is expected to have his external fixator removed from his pelvis on Monday as well as his feeding tube. White hopes that Hamlin will begin to try walking by Tuesday.
Until the day he returns, Packers Nation will continue waiting for Hamlin along with White. Simply put, hockey isn’t the same if it’s not Hamlin hockey and his loved ones can’t wait to see him again.
“I’ve never imagined our town doing this,” White reflected. “I have complete strangers supporting us. It’s really something crazy, that’s for sure.”
If you would like to donate to Wyatt’s GoFundMe page, click HERE.