SNOHOMISH — James Alexander Elisar Hopkins lived for service and adventure.
He believed the best way to honor his faith was by helping others. He led a youth group at Bethany Christian Assembly in Everett and was studying to become a minister. Hopkins, who went by Alex, also was a firefighter and EMT with the Tulalip Bay Fire Department. His mom thinks he would have made a good chaplain.
He went hiking or camping every chance he got. He would post online under the hashtag “#Adventuresof aLumberjack,” a nod to his love of the outdoors and Norwegian heritage, mom Ann Hopkins said.
The 22-year-old was swimming at Palouse Falls State Park last spring when he was pulled under water. He died May 1, 2016.
Family and friends plan to honor his memory through a 5K fundraiser. The Adventures of a Lumberjack run is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Bob’s Corn in Snohomish, 10917 Elliott Road. Check-in is at 12:30 p.m. It costs $35 the day of, and $30 beforehand. Proceeds go to three scholarships in memory of Hopkins.
The first scholarship will be attached to a leadership award connected with the Snohomish High School cross country team. Hopkins, a 2012 grad, was a captain.
The other two scholarships would be given out through the church he attended, Bethany Christian Assembly, and the one his family attends, Canyon Creek Church in Mill Creek.
Ann Hopkins hopes to have at least 200 participants in the run. That should allow for three $1,000 scholarships.
Alex Hopkins was close to his parents and older sister, Amanda. He worked at Bob’s Corn one season, and the farming family goes to church with the Hopkins, which led to the race location. Along with the venue, people donated or volunteered time, skills and supplies, so there’s little overhead for the fundraiser, Ann Hopkins said.
It’s the kind of service and selflessness her son valued.
“He was just a ‘what can I do, how can I help you, let’s make it happen’ kind of guy,” she said.
He became a leader — at church, in cross country and in the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program — not because he was big or boisterous, but because he cared about others and they could see it. She uses the example of the cross country team. A fast runner when he was a skinny little kid, Hopkins filled out by high school and never had the best times on the team. Still, his peers elected him captain.
“It wasn’t because of his skill, it was because he was always thinking of his teammates and cheering them on,” she said.
She hopes to make the run an annual event. Just as people think of the Bubble Run or Color Run, she wants them to think of the Lumberjack Run each year.
It’ll be a family-friendly event, with spectators welcome. She wants to create a positive, welcoming place that reflects the man her son had become.
“He would always look people in the eye and say their name,” she said. “I heard that so many times. People said he always made them feel welcome, he always made them feel included … He wanted to love people.”
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the 5K fundraiser in memory of Alex Hopkins, go to adventures ofalumberjack.com.