Great Falls residents are coming together to honor Larry Kiedrowski, who died earlier this week at the age of 71.
Art Taft was talking with Carrie Sunwall of the Great Falls Rescue Mission about building a memorial for Larry.
They thought about building a statue of Larry pushing one of his carts, and then Taft's wife mentioned that Larry was a veteran.
So Taft posted to Facebook about getting Larry a tile at the Montana Veterans Memorial, and it took off from there.
"I think my favorite part is all the stories that people have about Larry. I have a few of my own, including that the guy was everywhere. You’d see him in this part of town in the morning, and in this part of town in the afternoon. People would keep saying, 'Man, he is really out there in the weather. He's a survivor.' He was a tough guy."
Taft says they have already raised more than enough money to be able to get a tile for Larry.
Cory Reeves, a Great Falls police officer who was a friend of Larry, says that Larry's sister Becky confirmed that Larry served four years in the Air Force. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he worked for the National Guard for a period of time. Then he started working as a civilian airplane mechanic back at the Air Force Base.
If you would like to donate in Larry's name, visit the Montana Veterans Memorial website.
Scroll down to read more about Larry:
(JANUARY 9, 2018) Larry Kiedrowski, known affectionately to the Great Falls community as "Larry the homeless guy," has passed away.
According to Cory Reeves of the Great Falls Police Department, Kiedrowski died of heart failure at a Great Falls hospital.
Kiedrowski was known for his sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate carts that he wheeled along the sidewalks of Great Falls.
The Great Falls Police Department shared the following information about Larry:
Larry grew up on his family's farm north of Hogeland, MT with his six siblings and his parents, Lorraine and Frank, who passed away a few years ago.
Larry retired from MANG then seemingly lost his way and ended up living the life of a transient throughout Great Falls. About 15 years ago, the government tried to have Larry committed and send him away. That's when Detective Cory Reeves and two other caring community members stepped in and offered to be caretakers for Larry. They all believed Larry should be allowed to live his life the way he wanted to, even though it was not the way others thought he should do it. With their intervention and commitment, the District Court allowed Larry to stay in Great Falls and live out the remaining years of his life on his terms.
Larry was homeless for several years and could be found sleeping in an alley or under a bridge. Lt. Allen recalls finding Larry, on a very cold winter night, sleeping comfortably just outside of a warm air vent in an alley downtown. For the last many years Larry lived in small motels throughout town.
Larry liked to drink Coca-Cola and read Popular Science magazines. Detective Reeves welcomed Larry into his family and often treated him to dinner. Reeves children came to love Larry and enjoyed their time together. Reeves says one of the things Larry loved to do most was attend the Guns and Hoses hockey games with his family. Reeves says, "Larry's face would light up at those games, he just loved them."
Larry will be missed by many in our community, especially Detective Reeves and his family.
We will post an update if we learn of any public memorials planned in Larry's honor.
The KRTV Facebook page has been flooded with people sharing fond memories about Larry.