Today Eki Foco is a strapping young man happy to be living in Grand Rapids, Mich., but back in 1994 when he first met Peter Jennings, Foco was a 13-year-old kid living through the hell that was Sarajevo.
Jennings was reporting on the war in Bosnia when he struck up a conversation with the precocious kid who just happened to walk by.
"We were playing soccer in the area when they [the ABC News crew] showed up," Foco said.
The conversation that followed offered an American audience a unique perspective on the war.
"What do you think about the future?" Jennings asked him. "Would you always stay in Sarajevo?"
"No," Foco replied. "I think in Bosnia never war stopping really stopping. All I think very much time this war will -- and I think when I grow bigger than now, maybe I go in America maybe in England."
George and Helen Priebe of Irvine, Calif., were two of the 17 million people who saw Jennings' report that night.
"I couldn't get over this boy's face," George Priebe said. "And something told me that could be my son, and it just stuck with me."
Priebe then called Jennings' office in New York and arranged to have a letter taken to Sarajevo where, through one miracle after another, it found its way to Foco.
"I could envision my family in that position, and it tore my heart out," Priebe said.
So he helped pay to get the boy and his family out of Bosnia and to the United States permanently.
"Without Peter's help, he would have been another boy in a war-torn country," Priebe said.
Instead, Foco graduated from a Michigan high school, joined the U.S. Navy, and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Today he works at a bank and plans to attend college next year.
Driving around town in his yellow Mustang, Foco is now living the American dream
ABC News learned of Foco's story when he sent an e-mail via ABCNEWS.com after Jennings died this week.
"Dear 'World News Tonight' Staff," he wrote, "My name is Eldin, more known to ABC News as Eki -- the little boy from Saraevo ... Now I am living in the United States with my family, and I owe it to one man. Tears come to my eyes as I watch and remember Peter for the man he was."
Foco says meeting Jennings altered the course of his life.
"I strongly believe that I owe my safety and the wellness of my family to Peter," he said.
On the mantelpiece in Foco's home sits a picture of his hero along with Jennings' stopwatch -- the one he was using the day he changed a young boy's life.
ABC News' Dean Reynolds filed this report for "World News Tonight."