WAUKESHA -- As word spread that 10-year-old Andrew Ounkham -- who lives with autism -- was missing from his Waukesha home, strangers kept showing up wanting to help. Volunteers included 130 students from Waukesha West High School.
"Our principal came over the PA system and pretty much said that anyone who wanted to volunteer could go out and help," said Nate Kostolni, a student at Waukesha West. "So I got some of my friends together and we thought we could go do something good for the community, so we decided to go out there and look for him."
Two seniors from Waukesha West found Andrew on the edge of a cornfield just before 10 a.m. Monday, nearly 18 hours after he went missing.
"We saw him up ahead and he started walking toward us, but he didn't acknowledge us that we were there," Andrew Lembke said.
"He was laughing a little bit. He seemed happy just like a normal kid playing," Connor Kubiak said.
One of the students, a family friend of the missing boy, described the best part of the day.
"Seeing his mom reunite with him, just getting back together, because she seemed so happy," Lembke said.
Waukesha West Principal Ryan Patt said he isn't surprised the high school students were eager to help.
"I think it says what I expect from them all the time and who they are," he said. "It just affirms their character, the character of our community, and the character of our school building that our kids want to reach out and help and support."
It wasn't just students volunteering their time, this was a community effort.
"I have a lot of family and friends that are affected by with kids with autism," said volunteer Jeremy Garcia. "...When I woke up and saw he hadn't been found, I just knew I couldn't sit at home and do nothing all day. It's really really overwhelming to see how many people from the community came out to support this family and help them find this child."