Make-A-Wish Tyler

Tyler, 8, saved the Make-A-Wish New Jersey gala on June 13 as the newly-created Orange Power Ranger by catching burglars who stole awards meant for honorees. 

MONROE – A robbery occurred during Make-A-Wish New Jersey's annual gala in Monroe on June 13, but the day was saved by the newly minted Orange Ranger of the famed Power Rangers.

The evildoers attempted to sabotage the annual Make-A-Wish New Jersey gala, which raised more than $1 million, by stealing the awards designated for the night’s honorees.

Their evil plot was foiled when 8-year-old Tyler, aka the Orange Ranger, answered the call to help save the gala when no one else could.

Tyler was one of four kids that night who were surprised with having their wish granted at the Make-A-Wish New Jersey gala event. The gala also honored individuals and a company for their support. Tyler’s wish was to join the Power Rangers as the Orange Ranger.

“Wish kids are some of the bravest people we come to meet, facing the terrifying realities that come with a critical illness,” said Tom Weatherall, Make-A-Wish New Jersey president and CEO on Friday. “To see the joy on the faces of Tyler, Michael, Bridget, and Zakhyrah Thursday night [June 13] when their wishes were revealed to them, with family and friends surrounding them – that is the life-changing power of a wish.”

Orange Power Ranger

Tyler, 8, dressed as the first-ever Orange Power Ranger during Make-A-Wish New Jersey's annual gala on June 13 in Monroe. 

In hasty action, according to an account provided by Make-A-Wish, Tyler was inducted as the Orange Ranger via video message from the Beast Morpher Rangers and received his officially-licensed Orange Ranger suit and mask from Hasbro and Party City.

With his first official mission as the Orange Ranger set, Tyler chased the villains resulting in a battle of good vs. evil outside of the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, which was reported live to gala attendees by Bill Spadea of Chasing News and radio station New Jersey 101.5.

Naturally, good conquered evil and Tyler, err, the Orange Ranger defeated the thieves, returned the awards, and saved the gala.

Tyler returned to the gala to cheers and a message from his favorite actor and Power Ranger, Jason David Frank.

Make-A-Wish Michael

Michael, 14, is surprised when it is revealed at the Make-A-Wish New Jersey gala on June 13 in Monroe that his wish to go to the French Alps to learn to cook is coming true.

The evildoers were turned over to the Monroe Police Department. Their status is unknown at this time.

With the gala saved, the event would continue with more magical moments and surprises.

Wish alumna Shirley Sly was one of several who gave a speech during the event. In 2002, Sly’s wish of having a computer was granted. But what made her speech special was letting her 11-year-old daughter Zakhyrah know that her wish to go to a Walt Disney World Resort was going to come true.

Make-A-Wish Bridget

Bridget, 10, reacts to the surprise that her wish to go to London is coming true at the Make-A-Wish New Jersey gala on June 13 in Monroe. 

Make-A-Wish New Jersey granted wishes to Michael, who wanted to go to the French Alps to learn to cook and Bridget who wished to visit London.

The gala also honored several individuals and organizations for their support to Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

Rebecca Burke of Ernst & Young and Monica Ann Hilliard of Bloomberg Philanthropies received the Kathleen H. Murray Award, which recognizes “distinguished board service.”

Goya Foods, Inc., receive the Corporation of the Year Award, which recognizes “extraordinary charitable efforts and an exceeding commitment to community.”

Make-A-Wish Zakhyrah

Shirley Sly, whose wish was granted in 2002 for a computer, reveals to her daughter, 11-year-old Zakhyrah, that her wish to go to the Walt Disney World Resort has been granted.

Former Make-A-Wish board chairman John Crowley, along with his daughter Megan, attended the gala and both addressed attendees. His daughter Megan, had her Walt Disney World Resort wish granted in 2001.

The family continues to be involved with the Make-A-Wish community and had a key role in creating the Wishing Place in Monroe. Prior to her wish being granted, Megan was diagnosed with Pompe disease. She recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame and accepted to a master’s program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for social work.

“Our annual Gala is a night to celebrate our seemingly simple but oh-so-powerful mission, and also a night to invite support to continue towards our vision of reaching every eligible child,” Weatherall said at the gala in a statement from Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “... With the support of our mission shown here tonight by our honorees, our sponsors, our donors, and our friends throughout New Jersey, it gives us the confidence that when we ask a child that powerful question, ‘If you could have one wish, what would it be?,’ upon the child’s answer, our response will be this: ‘Your wish shall be granted.’”

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Christopher Lang is a freelance correspondent for MonroeNow. Previously he was part of The Record-USA Today Network and served as an editor for a decade at NJMG.