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UW-Madison student writes about real effects of drunk driving

January 27, 2011 By Stacy Forster

When University of Wisconsin–Madison journalism student Sammy Ganz met the family of 6-year-old Treyton Kilar in the weeks after his death at the hands of an alleged drunk driver, she recalls being amazed by their strength.

“Instead of filling themselves with anger and hatred, they were dedicated to honoring him in positive ways,” Ganz says.

Ganz wrote about the Kilar family and their struggle to cope with his death, telling a bigger story about the impact of drunk driving in Wisconsin. The story was published in Curb magazine, conceived and produced by students in the UW–Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication, and later picked up by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Kilar’s family is now working with the Whitewater Parks and Recreation Department to raise money to build the “Treyton Kilar Field of Dreams” in his hometown.

The project is a finalist for a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant, which would go to purchase such things as a scoreboard, bleachers and brick backstop. The project is currently ranked second in voting, which ends Monday, Jan. 31.

“The Field of Dreams is a way for them to preserve Treyton’s memory and love for baseball while spreading their message against the devastation of drunk driving,” Ganz says. “Winning the Pepsi Refresh Project would be a huge step towards making the field a reality.”

You can read Ganz’s story in Curb magazine or vote for the “Treyton Kilar Field of Dreams” project in the Pepsi Refresh project.