In the silence of his cornfield, Kevin Costner heard a voice whisper, “If you build it, he will come,” and saw a vision of a baseball field – his “Field of Dreams.”
Mary and Michael Kilar hope that building their own Field of Dreams will help transcend the haunting silence in their hearts, while preserving the memory of their 6-year-old son, Treyton, killed Sept. 2, 2010, by a drunk driver in Walworth County.
Treyton was never without his baseball glove, and wanted more than anything to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. According to Mike and Mary, he wanted to play baseball every minute of every day.
“Trey played baseball in some shape or form every day,” said Mike. “Outside in the front yard if weather permitted, or in our living room. He would turn any space you had to offer into a baseball field. If you were sitting still, you were going to be asked to play catch. We would play for hours in the front yard, sometimes until it was so dark, we could barely see the ball. Then he would say, ‘Let’s go play inside.’”
Passion for game was endless
Treyton’s passion for the game and for others to love it as much as he did was endless, according to Mike, who treasures every memory he has of his only son.
“It always touched me greatly to watch Trey help and teach kids, both younger and older, play his favorite pastime,” he said.
If the Brewers weren’t playing live, he’d park himself in front of the television watching reruns while wearing his Prince Fielder jersey.
“He knew the stats and line-ups,” said Mary, principal of St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Jefferson in the Madison Diocese. “He always told us he was going to play for the Brewers one day – and we believed him. We always encouraged him to dream big and through hard work, he would get there.”
The accident occur-red after a Whitewater High School volleyball match, where Mary is assistant coach and oldest daughter, Brittany, 17, was playing. Michael was driving Treyton and sisters, Rosie, 15, and Kindyl, 5, home when the drunk driver struck them. Treyton died shortly after at the hospital, and Mike suffered a broken bone in his neck and broken sternum, resulting in a lengthy recuperation period.
|How to vote for
Trey’s Field of Dreams
Pepsi is awarding the grant to the project with the most votes in the month of January. Every person can vote up to a total of three times daily (one vote each
2. Text – to 73774 and
Family is top priority
“Mike is in medical equipment sales for Roche Diagnostics and his company has been incredible in their support of our family,” said Mary. “He was badly injured in the crash and his company showed compassion and support as he healed. Both of us were assured from our work families that things were taken care of and they encouraged us to make our family our top priority. It was wonderful to have such support.”
To keep Treyton’s memory alive, his family and the Whitewater community are building Treyton’s Field of Dreams at Starin Park in Whitewater to commemorate his life and to honor all affected by similar tragedies.
“We know now that he is playing on the real ‘field of dreams’ with Jesus in heaven, but in his honor some friends mentioned building a ball field in his name,” explained Mary. “What greater gift to give than a field to honor Treyton’s memory, educate on the dangers of destructive decision making, create family opportunities and give thousands of youth an opportunity to dream big and achieve those dreams. Treyton would have loved to play on such a field and we are positive that in between innings with Jesus he is smiling down on us.”
Vote for Trey
To help create this $450,000 Little League Premier diamond, with lighting, concession stand and dugouts, that would be used for tournaments, practices and local leagues, the family is asking for public help to Vote for Trey – for a chance to win a $250,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project.
“We learned of this contest from Matt Amundson, the park and recreation director of Whitewater, who submitted the idea to the Pepsi Refresh project,” said Mary. “We can get the grant if we get the most votes on our project. Each person can vote for our project three times per day until the end of January. Voting is simple and you can text it, Facebook it and vote via e-mail, totally three votes per day. If we have the most votes, we will be awarded the $250,000 grant for this project.”
Grandparents try to find positive
In addition to the project, the Whitewater community, friends and family have helped with fundraisers and “Play for Trey” events to raise money for the field. Supporting their daughter Mary, son-in-law Mike and their grandchildren, Eileen and Dick Jaskolski, members of St. James Parish, Menomonee Falls, have been doing all they can to help with fundraising.
“Dick and I help as much as possible,” said Eileen. “We try to support them and work behind the scenes in any way we can. We would do anything and everything to help make something positive out of this terrible tragedy.”
After Treyton died, Eileen remembers an hour-long phone call from her pastor, Fr. Arthur Heinze, mostly punctuated by her sobbing.
“Then Daryl Olszewski, our pastoral associate, wrote a column for our parish bulletin using Mary’s ‘Words of Remembrance’ from Trey’s funeral liturgy,” she said. “The people at our parish have been phenomenal coordinating fundraisers, helping with the Vote for Trey contest, passing out fliers, and teaching people how to vote. The people at St. James couldn’t be more supportive spiritually, emotionally and in their actions.”
Family feels lifted by prayer
Support from their parishes, St. Patrick, Whitewater and St. John the Baptist, Jefferson, has been tremendous, according to Mary, who has often felt lifted up by prayer and love. For two months following the accident, friends from the Whitewater and Jefferson communities provided meals and sent gifts and cards for the family.
“They have all truly been the hands and feet of Christ,” said Mary. “Our pastor visits with us often and has brought goodies to our home. He came to our home to say Mass with our extended family when we were unable to leave our home right after the crash. What a remarkable thing that was to be able to pray with our Heavenly Father and our family right in our home.”
While the family is navigating their grief in a constructive direction, there are days when the tears won’t stop and each struggles to place one foot in front of the other. When the grief becomes too difficult, friends, family and parishioners hold and comfort the family.
“The community has come together in such a way that has left us speechless,” Mary said. “Thousands upon thousands of individuals have shown support and love to us. Knowing we are not alone, knowing there are good, genuine people who care for us and our family has given us some strength and hope. Words cannot express how much the community has helped us.”
Faith is their guide
While he doesn’t understand the reason for their suffering, Mike relies on God for the proper timing.
“My faith has helped me to greatly understand and begin to heal from this tragedy,” he said. “I may not have the answers to why this has happened to us, but I am sure the answers will be shared with me when the time is right. My faith will guide me through this.”
Eileen and Dick said that while they cry often, and wish this accident had only been a nightmare, they have never felt angry with God for their grandson’s death, nor do they hold animosity for the drunk driver.
“We are human beings and God created us with the free will to make choices,” said Eileen. “The man who killed our angel made a choice to drink and drive. That was a horrible choice, and do I hate the choice he made? Absolutely. However, will our family spend any time or energy feeling hatred or resentment? Absolutely not. That wouldn’t be what Trey would want us to do.”
Like Treyton’s parents, Eileen and Dick cling to the memories of a sweet, affectionate boy who never uttered an unkind word about another person and was liked by all of the children in his kindergarten class.
“Mary tells story of a little boy in kindergarten that liked to hug and kiss Trey,” said Eileen. “She suggested some words Trey could use if the boy was ‘in his space’ or that they could ask the teacher for help. Then she asked Trey what he thought. He said, ‘I figure this, it really doesn’t hurt me, and if it makes him feel better, I just let him do it, get it over with and then he moves on.’”
Mike hopes that building Treyton’s Field of Dreams will turn a terrible tragedy into something wonderful.
“Kids will be able to dream big, just like Trey did,” he explained. “And knowing this field was built for Trey and all kids and families that have suffered tragedies in their lives. The sad part is, this is something Trey would have loved to be a part of and play on such a field. I know in his heart he is looking down smiling, while he is playing on his Field of Dreams up in heaven.”