KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI) - Hundreds in Kirkwood gathered in Kirkwood Station Plaza Thursday night to remember a teen fatally struck by a train.
On the anniversary of his passing, family and friends held a concert to commemorate his life and pay it forward.
Cam Vennard, 14, was becoming a talented guitar player when his life was tragically cut short. That's why family and friends found it fitting to hold the “Cam Jam” concert to celebrate his life.
Performing on stage were Cam’s best friends and his brother Ben. They felt as though Cam was right there with them.
Ben Vennard says, “He took up guitar a year before he passed, and we definitely did jam a few times.”
Cam’s neighbor and close friend Dillon Wilfong adds, “I know he’s here with us. He loved music so much, his passion was music, and so is mine, and that’s why we were so close.”
It’s a tragic occasion for a jam session, but there is some good coming out of all this. Money raised at Cam Jam will benefit a scholarship in Cam’s name. The money will provide music lessons for young, talented Kirkwood musicians.
They’re also using the spotlight to warn everyone about crossing train tracks. Cam’s father, Darryl Vennard, explains, “The day Cameron passed away, he was the fourth person in America that was hit by a train that day. So we need to let everyone know it’s more common than they think.”
Dillon says habits have changed among Kirkwood teens since Cam’s passing. Crossing the tracks used to be a popular shortcut to downtown. Not anymore. Dillon explains, “So far, everybody has stayed off the tracks and they haven’t been saying, oh, let’s just take the quick way, let’s go down the tracks. Everybody’s just a lot more aware now.”
Still, Cam’s dad wants to take it a step further. He thinks the tracks downtown should be fenced in, and says warning signs could also do the trick. He explains, “I think that would stop kids right there, little things like that. I think that the community is going to have to come together, and either demand it or do it themselves.”