MIAMI – The seven-year-old boy from Wyoming whose training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might have prepared him to bravely shield his little sister from an attack by a German Shepherd-mix is in Miami this week.
Ralph Navarro, of Florida Yachts International, heard about the brave Bridger Walker from his daughter. His courage was so moving that he decided to extend him and his family an all-expenses-paid invitation.
“At first, I didn’t know what a yacht was, but then my grandpa told me it was a big boat,” Bridger said.
Bridger was six years old when he made international headlines last year after shielding his four-year-old sister Brielle from the vicious dog’s attack while visiting a friend’s house. After the dog bit him in the face, the protective older brother took little Brielle to safety.
“If someone had to die, I thought it should be me,” Bridger said while in the hospital where he required 90 stitches, according to his father, Robert Walker.
“We could have easily lost both of our kids that day,” Walker said on Tuesday in Miami. But Bridger had faced scary opponents before during his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. Walker believes that might have prepared him to behave like a warrior in front of the dog.
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman were among the many celebrities who took notice of Bridger’s courage.
“You are the champion before your sister; you are a champion for all of us,” Mike Tyson told Bridger late last year during a World Boxing Council ceremony.
Dermatologists from New York to Utah were helping to treat his scar with special lasers. And Bridger’s bravery on July 9 in Wisconsin continues to inspire people around the world.
Robert Walker said his family is still overcome with gratitude toward people like Navarro, who was determined to share his love of the yachting world with Bridger.
The Walker family arrived on Monday and Navarro awarded Bridger with “a true FYI Yachts celebration” on a Sunseeker 80 Sport Yacht out of the Prime Marina Miami in Coconut Grove.
“We kept talking about how surreal the whole experience is,” the proud father said. “Just being a couple from Cheyenne, Wyoming, we don’t have anything remotely close to anything like this.”
Brielle and Bridger were very comfortable talking to reporters. Brielle stood in front of the Local 10 News camera and thanked her brother once again.