WEST LAFAYETTE — About a week after the Fourth of July, Michelle Wietbrock pulled over the family vehicle and her sons, Jack and Teddy, helped a tiny turtle find its way from the middle of Cherry Lane to the side of the road.

Michelle Wietbrock said not all the turtles they saw on their daily drives on Cherry Lane were as lucky, judging by the occasional carnage of one that didn’t make to the other side.

That fact wasn’t lost on Jack, an 8-year-old heading into second grade at West Lafayette Elementary.

“We were able to save that baby, but we had a couple of times that were some not-so-great moments of seeing turtles on the side of the road,” Michelle Wietbrock said. “I was trying to think of something productive to say as a parent. And Jack said, ‘Maybe we should send a letter to the mayor.’ I was like, OK, we’ll send him one.”

That night, Jack wrote a letter, in clear, handwritten block letters:

“Dear Mayor Dennis,

“There are turtles crossing the road and they need our help.

“Can you please put up a turtle crossing sign?

“Thank you, Jack Wietbrock, 2nd grade.”

On a second page of loose leaf paper, Jack drew a picture of a car stopped and someone carrying a turtle. He captioned it: “We saved a baby turtle.”

On Tuesday morning, Dennis summoned Jack and his family to West Lafayette’s weekly board of works meeting.

“The great thing about West Lafayette is we embrace the unique and, in some cases, the odd,” Dennis said, after inviting Jack to the podium. (Jack ran full speed to the mayor’s side.)

“So, we felt, you know what,” Dennis said, “there’s something we can do here that’s going to be kind of cool and celebrates Jack’s initiative on making us aware of a problem.”

The result: The city’s first “Turtle Xing” signs.

Dennis said he had the street department – which has its own sign-making machine – make the warnings “to help our turtle population.” The signs were installed along Cherry Lane by that afternoon. Dennis said another set will go up later on Cumberland Avenue.

Jack and his brother, Teddy, posed by the signs shortly after they went up.

On Tuesday morning, Dennis asked Jack to say a few words, as his family – including his dad, Matt Wietbrock, formerly of the Purdue University Police Department – and the city’s administration looked on.

Michelle Wietbrock said she hoped Jack’s suggestion would make a difference.

“That road, people are zipping right by all the time,” Michelle Wietbrock said. “It was great for the mayor to take Jack seriously.”

Dennis the letter just made sense.

“Jack was so awesome about it,” Dennis said. “He is our Ninja Turtle hero.”

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