Basketball court dedicated to officer

Vancouver policeman was killed in off-duty biking accident in 2010

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

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The spirit of ohana now resides at Gretchen Fraser Park as a basketball court was dedicated to the late Vancouver police Officer Andrew Young during a Sunday ceremony.

About 300 people cheered as Young’s son, Ryan, swished a three-pointer during the ceremony at the court now named for his dad.

The new backboard, in Pacific blue, shows a Hawaiian warrior with a spear perched on the number 1274, Young’s badge number. The word ohana — “family” in Hawaiian — tops the design.

Young died in August 2010 during an off-duty mountain-biking trip near Hood River, Ore. He was 45.

“He loved basketball,” said Young’s widow, Marnie. “He was very athletic and he was very outdoorsy. … I’m just so touched. It is very special.”

The Youngs — Andrew, Marnie, Andrea, a Union High school junior; Ryan, a Union sophomore; and Marissa, an eighth-grader at Pacific Middle School — moved to Vancouver from Oahu, Hawaii, in 1999, when Young joined the Vancouver Police Department. Many remember him for his work as a bicycle unit officer. He earlier worked for the Honolulu Police Department.

The effort to put a new backboard in the park was led by Vancouver police Sgt. Scott Creager. He is selling T-shirts to pay for the backboard at Vancouver West Precinct, 360-487-7355.

Creager thanked many who helped, saying the stencil was made by Cpl. John Schultz of the Vancouver department and the painting was done by Alpine Auto Body. He also thanked the Parks Foundation for allowing the new backboard and a granite marker to be placed at the court. The park is adjacent to the police department’s East Precinct at 520 S.E. 155th Ave.

Many officers — some in uniform — and family members attended the dedication and stayed for a luau.

“This is so amazing,” Marnie Young said, fighting back tears as she stood near the hoop. “We forever will cherish this basketball court.”

She said she and Andrew had been married 16 years.

She said the ohana T-shirts are being worn in California and Arizona, “even in Afghanistan.”

Looking at the crowd gathered around the court, she said, “What I see is one big ohana. One big family.”

City Councilman Larry Smith, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, represented the city, telling those gathered that he has lost many friends. What is important, he said, “is that we don’t forget them.”

Schultz, who originally is from Hawaii, said his design is based on a Hawaiian petroglyph.

By the way, the park is named for Gretchen Fraser, a Vancouver woman who in 1948 won America’s first Olympic gold medal in skiing.