Loved ones launch anti-bullying campaign in Jared Kellner's honor

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Family members of 15-year-old Jared Kellner gathered on Monday, June 24th near the O'Donnell Parking Garage to remember him.

Kellner was killed three years ago, when a slab of concrete fell on him while he was in the parking garage.

Family members and friends gathered at his cross outside the garage on Monday afternoon to share stories, as they've done the past two years on the anniversary of his death.

The group says their goal is to make sure Kellner isn't remembered for his death, but for how he lived.

Relatives say Kellner was bulled through middle school, and made it a point to comfort other students he saw being bullied.

On Monday, friends and family members launched an anti-bullying campaign in Kellner's honor -- saying they want this to be his true legacy.

"I think in the past, when we've come here, we've mourned the loss of Jared and this year we want to change that to celebrating the life of Jared. I knew who he was, the person he was, but to hear it from so many other people and to know he saved lives -- to know he truly saved lives, makes me a different person, makes me a stronger person," Kellner's mother, Dawn Kellner said.

"I'm at a place where now, I look at it not as grieving, but as celebrating and wanting to carry on the message of what Jared stood for in his life. When he was younger, he was bulled throughout his middle school career, and I'm sure a little bit of his freshman year of high school. If we can convince (those who are bulled) that they do have a place and that they fit in, we can really make a difference in the world," Kellner's cousin, Colton Stanislawski said.

"It's time that we get Jared back out there. When Jared died, it was a tragedy and the community was so supportive, but as time went by, news stories passed and he became the boy that died in the accident," Kellner's aunt, Stephanie Stanislawski said.

As they have done in the past, family members and friends paused for a moment of silence at 4:01 -- the moment Kellner died.

Following that somber moment was a very celebratory one.

Kellner would have graduated from Whitnall High School this year, and classmates brought their caps and turned their tassels at once -- their way of having Kellner graduate alongside them.