By Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Family and friends came together in Fox Chase to remember a remarkable young man.
Those who knew and loved Mark Keeley are determined to keep his spirit alive.
Long before the 19-year-old PGW worker made the news for his tragic death in Tacony’s gas explosion in January 2011, family, friends and coaches say Mark made his presence felt on and off the court at St. Cecelia’s gymnasium.
Matthew McDonald, Mark’s former coach said, “He wasn’t a real big stature but he had a great heart, a giant heart. He was the kind of kid that every coach loved to coach. He’s the reason why coaches coach.”
Mark was a giver not a taker, friends say, returning as a coach at St. Cecelia’s to give back to the community which gave him the chance to shine.
Ben Mancini, Mark’s cousin said, “I think he’d be pretty amazed. There’s a great group of people who all did this.”
Brother-in-law, Joe Mazza added, “We’ve had a group of 15 family and friends meeting every month.”
Family and friends met every month since Coach McDonald came up with the idea of renovating and renaming the gym in Mark’s honor. With the school’s approval, the group set out to raise the money for much needed repairs.
Mazza explained, “We would replace the entire gym’s surface and replace all the lighting, making the lighting energy efficient. You can’t even buy the bulbs anymore.”
Coach McDonald added, “It would be so beautiful to see something here with his name on it to carry on his name, his legacy and his energy.”
Since February, they raised $46,000.
They have $9,000 to go and they hope to reach that goal with the help of others. The idea is to have the work begin in August and completed by the time students at St. Cecelia’s return for the new school year in September.
If you’d like to help, their seventh and final fundraiser is Saturday, June 23rd. For information on the Mark Keeley Memorial Fund Phillies tailgate and game ticket vs Tampa Bay Ray, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make that event but would like to chip in CLICK HERE.
Mark Keeley Memorial Fund Email: email@example.com
Gym Efforts Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MKMGym
The Mark Keeley Memorial Fund is a 100 percent nonprofit account.