Brewers’ bullpen catcher gives back by raising funds to build adaptive playground

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen catcher has a big impact with the team, even though he might not get much recognition from fans or the media. What he is doing off the field might be having an even bigger impact with the community.

During the Brewers’ season, you can normally find Marcus Hanel at Miller Park. As the team’s longtime bullpen catcher, he’s usually busy warming up pitchers.Hanel is also doing something else he loves: giving back.

Marcus Hanel

Marcus Hanel

“It puts everything in perspective,” said Hanel.

Marcus’ foundation “Koos for Kids” teamed up with the Brewers Foundation to help kids with physical and cognitive disabilities get out and play.

“This year we said how can we make a bigger impact,” Hanel said.

Hanel went and visited the Milwaukee Center for Independence and decided to help by getting a new, adaptive playground built.

Milwaukee Center for Independence

“Once you walk through this place, like we never knew about, but as a non-profit organization that they are and what they do for these kids who are struggling with just daily living we just thought this would be a great time and a great piece to add to their building, to have a facility and a place for these young kids to play,” Hanel said.

“After we walked through our programs they saw the extent which our kids could really benefit from a playground it was a no-brainer, so Marcus made it happen and we are so grateful for that,” said Dennise Lavrenz, Milwaukee Center for Independence.

Dennise Lavrenz is the chief clinical officer at Milwaukee Center for Independence, and can’t wait for the kids to be able to play on the new area.

"It's going to be really cool when the kids can actually come out and feel safe in their surroundings and be able to crawl around and be able to play like normal kids play,” said Lavrenz.

Hanel also can’t wait to see the impact the playground will have for the kids, and can’t believe how far Koos of Kids has come from when he started.

“I think we helped, we brought like 12 coats and now we are doing projects where we can put new playgrounds in so we are pretty blessed,” Hanel said.

And so is the community.

The Milwaukee Center for Independence is hoping to have construction done for the playground by later this fall.