Boy with autism honored for saving neighbor’s life

Levi Waitukaytis was honored by the Riverside Fire Dept. for helping to save his neighbor's life. (WDTN, Beairshelle Edmé)

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – Levi Waitukaytis a humble hero.  He helped save the life of his neighbor in late February.

Friday, Waitukaytis was honored for his actions.  The fourth grader is autistic and despite the obstacles he may face, he found a way to get help when he called the attention of his grandmother, Diane.

“Just the tone of his voice,” that’s what Waitukayis says alerted her that something was wrong, especially as her grandson repeated the neighbor’s name.

But on a cold February day, he used every form of communication to let her know an elderly neighbor needed help.

“And I went outside and saw her ankle off of her leg and I called 911,” she recalled.

Her grandson saved the neighbor’s life; it was below freezing and officials say she could have been out there for hours.

Waitukayis was honored for his courage.

The Riverside Fire Department Chief awarded the 4th grader with a special medal.

Waitukayis laughs as his classmates cheer him on, and his teacher beams with pride at his accomplishment.

Brittany Busche works with him closely on expressing himself.

“We have two behaviors here at Stevenson that we really like to focus on and that’s caring and responsibility and Levi does that all the time in the classroom and it’s been really neat that we saw him do that out in the community as well.”

Chief Mark Carpenter tells 2 NEWS this is also teachable moment for other kids.

“Encourage your kids to recognize people in need and who to contact and most often call 9-1-1 but also alert adults so proper care can be given to someone in need,” the chief said.

Grandma tell 2 NEWS she’s not taking the credit here, but she’s happy she’s always pushed Levi past his limitations.

“They said he’d never talk so I am, I am very proud he came a long way,” she reflected, as she became teary-eyed.

And this grandmother expects he’ll continue to beat the odds. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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