OLEAN – Seventeen-year-old Teddy Braidich and Silver Creek Assistant Fire Chief Jim Tytka Jr. were honored by Senator Catharine Young with Liberty Medals on Saturday, the highest recognition bestowed by the New York State Senate.
Senator Cathy Young presented 17-year-old Teddy Braidich, left, and Silver Creek Assistant Fire Chief Jim Tytka Jr. with Liberty Medals for rescuing a two-year-old boy lost in the woods west of Silver Creek.
On Jun. 6, 2018, they rescued a two-year-old child who had become lost in the woods west of Silver Creek, near railroad tracks. The child wore only a T-shirt and a diaper. The temperature that night dropped into the low 40s.
“This little boy’s life would have been in grave danger, had Teddy and Jim not found him,” Young said. “By working together they helped to ensure his safe return to his family that day.”
While along the railroad tracks, Teddy heard a child’s voice coming from the woods. Shortly after that, he ran into Assistant Fire Chief Tytka. Together, following the direction of the child’s voice, they came upon a steep hillside with a 30-foot drop.
The ground then rose up the other side of the ravine. While scanning the far ravine, they noticed a fallen tree about half way up the slope. Standing behind it, frightened and alone, was the child.
“Teddy and Jim, through their spontaneous and heroic actions, demonstrated character and compassion for the welfare of others and the life of a child was saved, due to the virtue of their behavior,” Young said.
Established in 2014, the New York State Liberty Medal is the highest honor a Senator can bestow upon a constituent. It is awarded to individuals who merit special recognition for exceptional, heroic or humanitarian acts.
Braidich and Assistant Chief Tytka were presented Liberty Medals and New York State Senate Proclamations by Young during a ceremony on Saturday at the Silver Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
“Teddy and Jim are an example to us all. Recognizing exceptional action that protects and benefits others is why the Liberty Medal was created,” Young said. “I was honored to be able to present them with these medals.”