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Running for Gil

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 17, 2020 1:09 AM

Eric Reade, collegiate runner, Marine and former L.A. police officer, leads benevolence efforts at Candlelight Christian Fellowship

COEUR d’ALENE — After nearly 25 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, Eric Reade knew he wanted to do something different. He wanted to continue to help people, but in another way.

“L.A. is a very difficult city,” he said. “There’s a lot of trials, there’s a lot of hurt, there’s a lot of crime, there’s a lot of suffering. There’s a lot of homelessness. You see it every day, it’s just constant.

“So I just felt like there was something I was being called to do. I just couldn’t figure it out.”

After much searching and considering which path to follow, Reade, wife Karen and their two children settled on Coeur d’Alene.

Good choice, turns out.

They enjoy the North Idaho lifestyle and Reade has embraced his role as benevolence and body ministry coordinator with Candlelight Christian Fellowship.

It’s a job that started part time in April 2019 and became full time a few months later. It’s where he does what he loves, connecting people with the church and helping them, as well.

“I felt like God was calling me,” he said. “I thought this was where God wanted me.”

“I had that in my heart. I had that tugging,” he added.

One of his current roles is coordinating the Gil Alvarado Memorial 5K and 1-mile fun run/walk at 9 a.m. Aug. 29 at Riverstone Park.

It’s $20 for adults and $15 for kids. It includes a shirt, gift bag and refreshments.

It’s a fundraiser to benefit the community’s working poor, which is something that Alvarado did for the church. He died in Mach 2019 after a long battle with cancer.

Alvarado also served in the military.

“It’s important to honor his legacy, the things he did for his country and the church,” Reade said.

About 75 people registered for last year’s inaugural run in early October. This year, they’re hoping that with better weather, a little more publicity, and Reade’s running and fitness background, there will be an even bigger crowd.

Because Eric Reade knows running.

Name the sport — baseball, basketball, football, soccer — when he attended Arcadia High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., he not only played, he was fast. He ran like the wind.

“I was naturally fast,” he said. “It was a God-given talent.”

His father, Art Reade, was a world-class runner in his day and competed at Arizona State University, clocking a mile in the 4 minutes and 9 seconds range, which then was on old cinder tracks.

His senior year, Eric finally went out for track and did well enough to attract the attention of the University of Georgia.

There, honing speed and building endurance, he ran 1:49 for the 800 and 3:49 for the 1,500, and won his share of races.

Later, he served two and half years in the Marines, and then went into law enforcement with the LAPD, retiring in early 2017 as a detective. During those years, he ran many relays and other races.

“I had natural speed,” he said.

Due to injuries, Reade doesn’t run these days, but he’s become an avid cyclist. As in his younger days, he gives 100 percent to any task before him.

“I always want to do my best,” he said.

He and Karen found a church home at Candlelight and started volunteering. Soon, Eric joined the staff.

“It’s not about the money to me,” he said. “It’s about serving. It’s very clear this is where I’m supposed to be.”

To register for the Gil Alvarado Memorial run, go to candlelight.org.

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BILL BULEY/Press Eric Reade, Benevolence & Body Ministry Coordinator with Candlelight Christian Fellowship, is a former police officer and college runner who is organizing the Gil Alvarado Memorial Run on Aug. 29.