By Maria Cook
For the past eight years, the Republic Airways Pulling for Wishes Airplane Pull has been a fun Indianapolis event with an important purpose: Raising money to help children impacted by serious illness. The event, in which teams compete to pull an airplane 15 feet, raised more than $400,000 in 2018.
The ninth annual plane pull will take place at 9 a.m. April 13 at the Republic Airways hanger at Indianapolis International Airport. The event is in memory of Tyler Frenzel, a Carmel boy who died at age 9 in 2004 after battling leukemia. Members of the Frenzel family participate in the event every year.
According to Pam Franzel, Tyler’s mother, the event has a festive atmosphere and is meant to be fun for all ages.
“It’s almost carnival-like. It’s a fun event, even to go and just watch,” she said. “There’s all these kids activities, food, celebrities and mascots that are there walking around. Every year it’s gotten bigger and more festive.”
Former Colts player Robert Mathis, a long-time supporter of event beneficiary Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, will be a featured celebrity at this year’s plane pull. Mathis is a Carmel resident and was a member of the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI championship team and appeared in six consecutive Pro Bowls. He cworks as a consultant for the Colts.
Money raised at this year’s event will benefit the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, Riley Children’s Foundation and A Kid Again.
“Tyler was all about giving back to others, so it’s really beautiful to watch an event like this continue each year,” Franzel said. “People would donate money to him when he was sick, and he would turn around and give it to an organization that helped others. He taught us a lot. It warms our hearts to be able to continue that in his name. He would like nothing better than to help other kids.”