North Idaho

Pinehurst basketball court dedicated to Larry Marek

PINEHURST, Idaho - Larry Marek memorial

In the heart of the valley where Larry Marek spent his entire life, a new basketball court has been dedicated to his memory in Pinehurst.

Larry Marek, 53, was killed in a cave-in at the Lucky Friday Mine in April of 2011.

The $20,000 project was approved by the Pinehurst City Council but was largely funded by donations, including Shoshone Honda and Yamaha, Jim's Bobcat Service, Cosmo Construction and Hecla, the company that owns the mine where Marek was killed.

Miners work shifts around the clock and that's one reason why the volunteers behind Larry Marek's memorial wanted the basketball court to be lit up for nighttime games.

In fact the silhouettes on the park's new sign were copied from a high school yearbook photo of the Mareks playing ball.

Marek's little brother Donny said the hard work and donations to the court are a great comfort to his family.

"Well Larry was an amazing guy anyway. He was like a leader to the whole family. I looked up to him. Everybody looked up to him and they're just amazed by everybody's reactions, all the help they got. They put this park up. I couldn't believe that happened," Donny Marek said.

Recent inspections at the Lucky Friday Mine show none of the ground support issues that federal officials say led to Marek's death. His family is pleased to hear about Hecla's new commitment to safety for the people who make their living underground.