Glenn Beck stood on the escalator at the 2013 NRA convention Saturday afternoon, calm and steady. Below, a throng of people waited for him to put pen to paper on the inside cover of his latest book, “Control.” And while the line was long and pulsating, there was one section not visible — the front of the line behind a set of black curtains.
That’s where Tracy and 12-year-old Tyler Diefenbach were standing.
Tracy, her husband Wendall, and Tyler had all traveled from Southern Illinois to be at the book signing. Mom and son ended up second in line. But as Tracy approached the podium, she couldn’t contain herself: She started crying. Why? Because her son Tyler only has 30 to 40 percent hearing capability in his ears and as he walked up to Beck, he was actually walking up the man who had three years earlier vowed to help change that.
That’s because young Tyler Deifenbach is the same boy who in 2010 was one of Beck’s “Christmas miracles” in Wilmington, Ohio. You may remember back then that Beck broadcast a series of radio and TV shows from the town whose people and economy had been hit hard. But while there, he witnessed hope. And four miracles.
How Tyler became one of them was somewhat of a “coincidence.” He was at a book signing in Wilmington when he approached Beck and Beck tried to say something to him. Tyler looked to his parents for help. That’s when Beck realized the boy was struggling with his hearing. And that’s when he realized he had to do something. And it just so happens that earlier that day Beck had met with a group of people in his office who were working on technology that could restore peoples’ hearing.
The procedure is $30,000 per ear. But Beck promised to provide the money and means to try and outfit the boy with the Esteem hearing implant from Envoy Medical.
This is how an emotional Beck explained it at the time (skip to the 8:45 mark):
Fastforward to 2013.
Tracy and Tyler are again in front of Beck. An emotional Tracy is trying to keep it together.
“Do you remember me?” Tyler asked Beck.
“Of course I do,” Beck replied.
Tracy lost it — with joy.
We caught up with her outside the book signing to ask how, exactly, she was feeling.
“When we met Glenn Beck in Wilmington, Ohio, he introduced us to the Esteem, which is what Glenn’s going to do to Tyler’s ears when he becomes 16 or 18. And for him to remember us, every year when we come, is just a blessing that he can do that for my son,” Tracy said, pausing frequently as she fought tears.
The reason the procedure hasn’t already been done is because there’s an age limit. But as soon as Tyler’s ears are ready, so will the Diefenbachs. And so will Beck.
“We got everything ready,” Tracy said. “He’s a perfect candidate.”
And now they come to every book signing they can to say hi. In July, they’ll be at Beck’s Man in the Moon event in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As for Tyler, he summed up the experience in one word: “Happy.”