The Helicopter Rescue by Eden Weygandt

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Sometimes you read or hear something about the real world, like a shooting or a break-in or even a kidnapping, but you don’t know much about it. Our world is virtual, from our phones to iPod, we love our technology. One problem, we don’t really know or pay attention to what’s around us. Some people don’t know this, but, those games you play like Call of Duty or Halo (yes I know what it is) can be real! And in some countries they are a living nightmare.

Coda Lake is only in 9th grade but he has already witnessed the dangers the world possess. On February 25 2020 he and 2 others (Rob and Jim Cheesgrater) were kidnapped. “It was a random act,” says Coda Lake, “he didn’t know why they were attacked.” They were taken from their home in Yorktown, Virginia walking home from school (Tabb High School). “One minute we were walking down the street by Big Bethel Road, the next a man came out of an ally and put a gun to Jim Cheesgrater’s head. We were loaded into a white pick-up truck and locked in,” Coda explains. “We drove for hours, then the door opened and we were in a forest! Joseph (kidnapper) then shot Rob. Rob was rich, and like every criminal, he wanted money.” Later it was found that Rob’s body had been dumped in a pond near Joseph’s hideout. They were kept at Loess Hills State Forest for 2 weeks in a dirty, brown, shed until rescued. Jim was injured so Coda escaped to get help, he ran towards the plains and was seen by an overhead helicopter. Along with the police’s help, Coda set a trap for Joseph, who was quickly caught. “The forest was near the plains and I remember a pond next to the trees. The forest was huge! I found out later that it was approximately 11,600 acres of trees and forest,” Coda describes the scene after released from the hospital.

After Joseph was caught he was charged with 1 account of murder and 3 kidnappings. “I also found out that he is a repeat offender. He had already been charged with speeding, loitering, and robbery. He was given life in prison and a $2,000 fine.” Says Coda eating his favorite food, pizza! After he was rescued he ate as much as he could. “We were only been given a little morsel every few days.” Coda replies while munching his triangle shaped pizza. “It was exciting and kind of weird coming home, I have 3 brothers, and I’m a middle child. We didn’t always get along well so it was strange being welcomed home. My parents were very happy that I was home.” Meanwhile Jim was going home for the first time in 2 weeks.

Next time you are thinking “My life is horrible!” Remember, some people have it a whole lot worse. They may be fighting for their lives while you had a bad day a school. Be grateful, there are things in life that is worse than dying on our video game.

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The Helicopter Rescue by Eden Weygandt