Friends, family to remember a positive Marcus Shirley
BRECKENRIDGE – Friends can’t say enough good things about Marcus Shirley. But Friday, on what would have been the young man’s 20th birthday, they’ll try.
Shirley’s loved ones will host a dedication ceremony at the Breckenridge Recreation Center, celebrating the life and lesson of the skateboarder, artist, musician and friend. Shirley died Jan. 15 when the car he was riding in was hit by a drunken driver in Park County. The memorial bench that bears a plaque in his honor, however, should serve as a positive reminder, said Shirley family friend Phil Palmer.
“I want people to be awakened,” Palmer said. “This isn’t the end.”
At Shirley’s standing-room-only funeral-
service, the speeches of those who knew him and the good things they had to say moved Palmer to do something to memorialize Shirley. With the help of mother Lori Shirley and Breckenridge town planners, Palmer organized a fund raiser at the Dredge and had the memorial bench placed outside the rec center. In the spring, public works employees will move the bench to one of Marcus Shirley’s favorite haunts, the nearby skateboard park.
“When the young skaters coming up see that plaque, I hope they know that Marcus was an awesome skater, but also that he was an awesome person,” Palmer said. “He was a person who was living life to the fullest. I hope it reminds them they can’t take one second for granted.”
The lesson of the loss of his friend also has moved Palmer to speak out about personal responsibility and alcohol. It’s a message Lori Shirley hopes Summit County youth will hear.
“The ones that are over 21 and drink, I hope they remember to make responsible choices in life,” Lori Shirley said. “I hope they make the choice not to drink and drive. Life is short and precious, and they should appreciate each moment with each other.”
Palmer said he hopes to organize future projects working with bars and restaurants to raise awareness about the consequences of drunken driving.
The 3 p.m. dedication ceremony will include hot chocolate, food and some of Marcus Shirley’s favorite punk music. The ceremony is open to the public.
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