GREAT FALLS — On Tuesday, November 28, the statue of Branch Brady was returned to West Bank Park in Great Falls.
Repaired by welder Paul Thompson, the statue now has a more reinforced leg, making removing and breaking the statue much more difficult.
“Keep Runnin’” was returned to the park less than four weeks after the initial vandalism occurred, where the statue was found twisted around, the bronze shattered at one point on the lower leg.
“They were able to grab one of coach Brady’s legs and they twisted it around, until the bronze shattered at one of the points on the lower leg,” Kevin Vining, Parks Manager for Great Falls Park and Recreation said, “and they of course twisted the entire statue around.”
Coach Brady was the head cross country coach at CMR from 1974 until 2002, and then returned as an assistant coach in 2013. Over his career he coached 11 state champion teams. The statue, Keep Runnin’, was designed by Kristian la Cour-Madsen and put in West Bank Park in June of 2019. On the Morning of Saturday, November 4th, 2023, police were notified that the statue had been vandalized.
There is still no information as to who vandalized the statue and why. Vandalism is a common occurrence in Great Falls, with 532 reports in 2022 and 460 from January-early November 2023. In the city’s parks however, there has been a slight increase in vandalisms.
Vandalism oftentimes is seen as a low hanging fruit in the in the world of criminal justice. However, there's theories out there that if we allow it to take a foothold, it'll continue,” Doug Mahlum, Lieutenant of the Great Falls Police Department said.
At the moment, the statue has a wreath around Brady’s head to celebrate the holiday season.