Run funds scholarships and honors firefighter, church leader

The second Adventures of a Lumberjack 5K is scheduled for Sunday at Bob’s Corn in Snohomish.

James Alexander Elisar Hopkins, 22, of Snohomish, died in May 2016 during a swimming accident in Eastern Washington. Family and friends are hosting a memorial 5K, the Adventures of a Lumberjack fun run, to raise money for scholarships. (Courtesy of the Hopkins family)

James Alexander Elisar Hopkins, 22, of Snohomish, died in May 2016 during a swimming accident in Eastern Washington. Family and friends are hosting a memorial 5K, the Adventures of a Lumberjack fun run, to raise money for scholarships. (Courtesy of the Hopkins family)

SNOHOMISH — Last year, the Hopkins family raised enough money to help four local students pay for college.

They did so in memory of James Alexander Elisar Hopkins, a son, brother, friend and leader.

Hopkins, who went by Alex, believed the best way to live his Christian faith was through service. He was a firefighter and EMT with the Tulalip Bay Fire Department and was studying to be a minister. The 22-year-old also loved the outdoors.

He died after being pulled under water at Palouse Falls State Park in May 2016.

His family and friends hosted a 5K fundraiser last September so they could give out scholarships in his memory. They raised enough for three $1,000 scholarships. One of those was split into two $500 awards for twin brothers.

“This year we are continuing this tradition and adding more components to the day to make it a family-friendly event in addition to attracting runners and walkers,” said Ann Hopkins, Alex’s mom, in an email.

The second Adventures of a Lumberjack Fun Run is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Bob’s Corn in Snohomish. Activities include a kids obstacle course, food trucks, a photo booth, hay slide and face painting.

The first scholarships went to: Bethany Shade from Snohomish High School, now studying at Linfield College in Oregon; Erica Lane from Glacier Peak High School, now studying at Northwest University; and twin brothers Jeremy and Sean Lucas, who graduated from Cascade High School and are attending Everett Community College.

Lane, 18, started college classes Tuesday. She wants to be a worship pastor.

“I know that’s something that Alex would have really liked,” she said.

Lane knows the Hopkins family through Canyon Creek Church, where Alex’s sister, Amanda, has been her mentor. Lane has volunteered in the community since she was in fourth grade, mostly through church. The Hopkins family set an example for her.

She wants the memorial scholarships to continue.

“I hope it can do exactly what it did for me and help people further their passion in ministry,” she said. “I think opening more opportunities for that to be a possibility is exactly what Alex would have wanted when his mom created this scholarship.”

The Lucas brothers knew Alex through Bethany Christian Assembly. Sean Lucas, 18, is playing soccer and plans to transfer to a university in a couple of years. He still is deciding what career he’d like to pursue.

Alex set an example for him, he said.

“When the community needed help, he was always one of the first ones to respond,” Lucas said. “Alex was definitely someone I looked up to. He was always somebody who stood out to me, and was an inspiration for how I serve today, my work ethic with soccer and church.”

Lucas didn’t know Alex well, but saw how he treated others with kindness and respect. He was the type of person who helped without expecting recognition.

Alex showed that “you can be a leader without having to be on the stage talking to people,” Lucas said. “You can be a leader based on the way you serve, or the way you talk to people. Sometimes the greatest leaders are the ones working behind the scenes.”

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

If you go

The Adventures of a Lumberjack Fun Run check-in is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Bob’s Corn. Cost is $35 day-of and $30 before. Proceeds go toward scholarships. More information is online at

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