One man’s hobby brightens a community

John Michael Gigliotti became fascinated with traffic signals a couple of years ago.

The 21-year-old studied light bulbs and the mechanisms, talked to installation crews and toured suppliers.

His efforts have made Carbondale a little brighter.

Last month, Gigliotti, who has autism, watched as crews installed new bulbs on a set of lights at South Main Street and Seventh Avenue — a signal that he thought was too dim. He also arranged for the bulbs and their installation to be free to the city, a value of about $5,000.

“It was pretty cool,” Gigliotti said. “I felt like I was doing something for my hometown community.”

Now, with urging by Gigliotti, Carbondale has applied for funding to update more intersections through the “Green Light–Go Program,” which provides funds for the operation and maintenance of traffic signals along state highways.

“He’s a great, great young man,” said Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor. “He really should be the example for young people today. When he sees a problem, it automatically clicks for him. He takes it a step further and gets involved.”

This is not the first time Gigliotti has seen a problem in Carbondale and worked to fix it. At the age of 14, with a fascination with toilets and plumbing, Gigliotti noticed how the restrooms at Carbondale’s Russell Park were in great need of repair. He contacted American Standard and got the company to donate more than $4,000 in fixtures for the project.

For his latest project, Gigliotti got Signal Control Products to donate six new LED bulbs and asked Kuharchik Construction in Luzerne County to install them.

“I like to make Carbondale safer,” said the Carbondale Area High School graduate, who works part time for Geisinger in shipping and receiving,

His father, John Gigliotti, said his son took ownership of the project.

“We’re proud of him,” the former city councilman said. “He’s been finding his voice and bringing out his talents.”

Story by Sarah Hofius Hall of the Times-Tribune