The city of Carbondale got some new traffic lights on Friday but the real story is about the person who procured them.

Hopefully, we all have something we’re passionate about. For John Michael Gigliotti of Carbondale, that something is traffic signals.

“I can tell all the signal head manufacturers, the controllers, like, almost any traffic signal-related part you can think of,” he said.

John Michael has autism and like many people on the autism spectrum, he loves to learn about the way things work. When his traffic signal fascination began a few years ago, he started calling Kuharchick Construction in Luzerne County.

“Multiple times a week,” said Robert Bresnahan of Kuharchick Construction. “He knows more about traffic signals than half of our engineering staff combined!”

John Michael noticed some of the traffic signals in his hometown weren’t as bright as they could be so, he convinced Kuharchick and their supplier, Signal Control Products, to donate six new LED bulbs.

“We linked up, he was the driving force behind it, and today we’re going to replace some of the LEDs and the signals here,” Bresnahan said.

John Michael came up with this idea with safety in mind but he’s also saving the city of Carbondale some money. This project could have cost the city close to $5,000.

Next, John Michael needs to convince Carbondale to apply for a grant that would replace every traffic light.

“This is just the start of what I want to do for the city of Carbondale.”

While John Michael watched the lights, his dad John Gigliotti watched his son in awe.

“We’re just going along with this journey, and we also realize no matter what disability someone may have that everyone has special blessed talents that they can give back to their community. That’s what I’m learning here,” he said.

He said he’s learning to let John Michael’s passion lead the way.

“Some days are challenging for families who have someone on the autism spectrum, but there are wonderful days like this that make it all worth the challenge.”

John Michael’s dad hopes people see his son and learn that whatever gift you have, share it.

Story by WNEP, Stacy Lange

November 17, 2017