PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The family of a PGW worker killed in natural gas explosion in Tacony is hoping to turn tragedy into triumph in an unconventional way.

For Peg Keeley, talking about her son, Mark, is still difficult.

“Mark was a great kid. It’s nice to see that the neighborhood feels the same way,” Peg Keeley said.

On Wednesday, Keeley was among the dozens of family and friends gathered at the Fox Chase Recreation Center where Mark grew up playing basketball. They held a rally to gain support for a special campaign.

Mark was just 19-years-old when he was killed in the January gas explosion. Eyewitness News has learned Mark was a member of the PGW first responders there fix a broken main. Family members say the details of what went wrong are still being finalized.

What matters to them, right now, is knowing Mark died fulfilling his duties after following in his father’s footsteps. Mark’s father had been with the gas company for 17 years.

Peg Keeley explained, “He always enjoyed the conversations he’d have with his dad about PGW and he just wanted to do the same thing.”

Mark’s brother-in-law, Joe Mazza, added, “He’s a hero now. He’ll be a hero forever and he risked his life that night to save the community.”

In return, the community came out to say thanks to the young hero.

His friend, Teddy Mangold performed a song by Mark’s favorite band, “Mumford & Sons” to remind the crowd to join their Facebook campaign — “Mumford & Sons to Philly for Mark’s Birthday.”

Family and friends created the fan page earlier this week. In just a matter of days, the page had garnered 4,025 fans and counting.

“Probably not even touching the tip of the iceberg of how many people Mark has affected so the amount of support though is absolutely unreal,” Mark’s girlfriend, Kaitlin McMahon said.

“He was going to make the trip down south with his friends this summer to see the band. That won’t be possible but we’re hoping the band can make a trip to see all of Mark’s friends and family,” Mazza added.

Friends say their hope is to get the band to perform in honor of Mark’s birthday. Mark would have turned 20 on July 27th. They say their campaign will continue for as long as it takes to get the band to Philadelphia.

Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3

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