Local family shares tragic story to save lives - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Local family shares tragic story to save lives


MADISON (WKOW) -- A Wisconsin family hopes sharing the story of their son's death will save other lives. UW-Stevens Point student and Fitchburg native Eric Duffey died last year when he fell into a river after a night out on his 21st birthday.

"He left the bar alone, and he walked about a 5 block walk near the river and unfortunately, misjudged and walked a little too far off the end of a boat landing," his mom Joan Duffey says. A two day search ensued in Stevens Point before authorities recovered Eric's body.

"It was very shocking for everybody."

Joan says she needed some time off after her son's death. Now, about 19 months later, she's working again at a local cupcake shop and she's taken up a cause.

"I've been able to come to a conclusion where the best way for us to heal is to try to help others and you can't really help if people don't know your story," she says.

The family is sharing Eric's story with students at UW-Stevens Point and a public service announcement has started airing on radio stations in Dane and Portage counties.

Joan says she has a clear message for young people. "Have a plan and to try to decide what you're going to do before you go out. Stick with your group, don't ever separate from it," she tells 27 News.

Joan says feedback has been positive about the effort."I think once they hear our story, it brings more realism into what really can happen and how just an ordinary college kid who had loved his life, loved his school, was not a big partier...if this could happen to our son, it can happen to anybody."

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