PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Family and friends of Mark Keeley, a young PGW worker killed in a natural gas explosion, spoke to Eyewitness News about their loved one and their special tribute to him—a tribute that exuded positive energy for family and friends in the face of tragedy.

The 19-year-old Keeley is remembered as someone who, “always looked out for other people before himself,” said his girlfriend, Kate McMahon.

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Friend Steve Lugas said Keeley “was the life of the party.”

Another friend, Ally Stone, added, “He honestly was one of my best girlfriends.”

They laughed and, at times, cried while sharing their best memories of a young man whose presence is deeply missed but who will never be forgotten.

Sister Lauren Mazza said, “Mark was my buddy. He was one of my best friends.”

Family and friends admit the pain of losing Mark so suddenly in the January Tacony gas explosion is still immeasurable. (See previous coverage)

But the Keeleys say they have no regrets. Instead, they are proud Mark chose to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining PGW. Tom Keeley had been with the gas company for 17 years.

Mark’s mother, Peg Keeley, said, “We felt really lucky he got in there when he did.”

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Mark’s father, Tom Keeley, said he wasn’t nervous at all when his son started work.

Tom Keeley says he chose to break his silence to say thank you (see previous coverage) to the friends and strangers who made the family’s Facebook campaign to bring Mark’s favorite band, Mumford & Sons, to Philadelphia a reality:!/note.php?note_id=203201916384467

“Just everybody, really, a lot of good people in the world, and I’d like to thank them all,” Tom Keeley said.

Mark’s brother-in-law Joe Mazza added, “Just really respecting some of the city workers that don’t often get the respect they deserve.”

Mazza says he now hopes another local family coping with the loss of their son in a motorcycle accident succeeds in their own Facebook endeavor. (See previous coverage)

Mazza asked of area residents, “Please help out a family who lost a young Philly kid in a motorcycle accident. It’s free. Just click LIKE at Kenny 4 Kenny. They are trying to get Kenny Chesney to dedicate a special song for Kenny at his June concert in Philly. Please help them build their campaign and get the band’s attention. Thank you for paying it forward.”

Watch the video…

Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3

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