Syracuse family creates football scholarships in memory of son who died in crosswalk

SYRACUSE – A Syracuse family is hoping to turn tragedy into an opportunity to help others after their son was hit and killed by a car.

Dakota Kilburn’s family has established a scholarship to help children participate in youth football.

Terry Kilburn never imagined losing her grandson Dakota.

“There isn't a day I don't cry," she said. "Several times a day, I cry for him. I cry for my son. I cry for his siblings.”

The Syracuse Junior High student was hit and killed in a crosswalk near school on April 17 of this year. Crews are installing a crossing signal with lights, but the family is pushing for a walking bridge.

“I worry about if something isn't done to protect the rest of the people in the community, the children that have to use that crosswalk, it almost scares me to death," Kilburn said.

Since the incident, the community has stepped up to show their support. From friends selling T-shirts, bracelets and quilts, to businesses holding fundraisers, the family wants to give back.

With the extra money from their GoFundMe page and other donations, the family is awarding 10 scholarships to kids who can’t afford football fees.

“Since there’s 11 kids on a football team but minus Dakota, that’s how we came up with the number 10,” said Burke Kilburn, Dakota’s father.

The Wasatch Front Football league is matching the donation, so a total of 20 kids will benefit from Kota’s Kickoff. Local businesses such as Dick’s Sporting Goods are also offering $20 gift cards.

Dakota lived and breathed football. His family says he was a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, and he loved his friends just as much. Last year, he gave up a trip to see the Vikings in their new stadium so he could take his friend to his first NFL game in Denver.

“His main concern in life was to make sure you were happy,” Burke Kilburn said.

His family says this is a fitting way to honor his memory and to ensure his legacy lives on.

“If we can’t have Dakota, at least we can have other children benefit from our loss,” Terry Kilburn said.

For more information about how to apply for the scholarship, click here.