Editor's note: Looking back on 2012, there were a lot of ups and downs experienced by the Port Washington and Saukville community.
While the good times are often easier to remember, it's important to also take note of the tragic events that mold the community and bring its members together — and to never let go of the memories of those we have lost, who meant so much.
This series of Top 10 stores in Port Washington and Saukville takes a look at some of the most memorable moments here this year. The top 10 stories were chosen based on qualifications such as the number of readers on an article and the amount of Facebook "likes" or "recommendations" it had, as well as community impact — among other considerations.
The No. 2 story remembers 15-year-old Tyler Buczek who died while swimming in Lake Michigan over Labor Day weekend.
Buczek, the quarterback of the Port Washington High School freshmen football team, had been swimming off North Beach with a group of friends on Sunday of Labor Day weekend when the current took him. An intense, multi-day search between the south end of North Beach and down the breakwall ensued until his body was recovered on Thursday that week.
The community rallied around friends and family grieving the loss of the young man, holding a candlelight vigil that week and also showing support by releasing balloons into the air at the first freshmen football game after his death.
- Related: Prevent the Next Lake Michigan Tragedy from Happening
A committee also formed putting its focus on creating water safety and educational opportunities in the city.
"Thank you everybody for being here," said Tyler's uncle Jim Buczek while introducing himself at the first meeting of the city's Waterfront Safety Ad-hoc Committee on Wednesday night. "I lived in Port Washington my whole life and every summer, I did exactly what Tyler did: We went down to the beach, we swam; the bigger the waves — the more fun we had.
"If we can save just one life in memory of Tyler. … We want to make sure it doesn't happen again … we want to make sure he's never forgotten, and we just want to make the waters safe for everybody."
Read more about the ways Buczek inspired others in his short life.