When two teens came upon an unlocked car in the woods, they reached inside and found a Sam’s Club card. Deciding to investigate further, they typed the name on the card into Google’s search engine and realized it had been all over the local headlines. That’s when they took off, getting out of there as fast as they could.
Joe Del Vecchio, 18, and Alec Yanisko, 15, were out riding ATVs on a nature trail in Pennsylvania when they stumbled on something unexpected. While on a network of ATV trails in the woods near the Dunmore Reservoir, a popular place for hiking, the boys spotted a car. This was an unusual sight since the area is not a place for regular cars to travel. So, they decided they better take a closer look.
As they neared the vehicle, they quickly realized it was an SUV and it was stuck on a log. Deep in the woods of Dunmore, it was about a quarter-mile from the nearest road, and two of its windows were smashed. But, the driver was nowhere to be found. “It’s more like for ATVs,” said Alec Yanisko, speaking about where the car was found. “It was on a log, and there was no way of getting it off, like, by himself,” Alec added, referring to the SUV’s driver.
The Dunmore High School students couldn’t shake the feeling something wasn’t quite right, so they decided to investigate even further. The boys reached inside the unlocked vehicle and found a Sam’s Club card with a name on it, according to WNEP.
The name on the membership card was Edwin Kosik. But, it wasn’t a name either teen knew. So, they decided to search for it online. “We went to type it in online to see if we knew them or anything like that and we seen all the attention it had,” Joe Del Vecchio recalled.
Indeed, the name Edwin Kosik had been all over the local news after the 92-year-old former federal judge from Lackawanna County had gone missing almost two days before. Although they couldn’t find him, the boys knew the judge was likely in those woods and in trouble.
Quickly, they shot back home, told their parents what was going on, and called the police. Joe and Alec were able to lead officers to the secluded spot in the woods where they found Judge Kosik’s car. The police then began their search, and just after dark, the story had an unexpected but happy ending.
Thanks to Joe and Alec pointing them in the right direction, authorities eventually found the elderly judge in the woods, lying on the ground. And, he was alive. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was listed in fair condition following the rescue.
Joe and Alec were quickly hailed heroes and recognized for their good Samaritan efforts, according to Fox 56. Indeed, they were instrumental in Judge Kosik’s rescue and deserved the credit. After having already spent two days in the woods, there is no telling how much longer the 92-year-old judge could have withstood the elements had the boys not stumbled upon his SUV.
The young heroes seem well aware that they likely saved Judge Kosik in the nick of time. The two say they almost didn’t go out that day because of the rain but are glad they did since it resulted in the judge being found safe. “Just glad that he’s alive,” said Alec as Joe added, “We’re glad he’s OK, glad that we could help out.”
“We’re very thankful to these two young men that they saw this vehicle, happened to be in this area, fortunately,” said U.S. Marshal Martin Pane, speaking of the heroic teens. But, this is more than just a case of being in the right place at the right time, regardless of what the boys and others might think.
“We don’t really consider ourselves heroes by any means. We just think we were in the right place at the right time,” says Joe Del Vecchio. What they fail to realize is that many boys Joe and Alec’s age are content to “drive” ATVs in a virtual sense, sitting inside and playing video games.
These guys, on the other hand, were actually outside, living life — and it led to another life being saved. The same couldn’t be said if they were sitting on their couch in front of a gaming console. It’s time for today’s youth to start getting up and getting outside again. It’s good for our kids, and as this story proves, it can be very good for our communities too.