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'Number one is in heaven'

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 30, 2020 1:20 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — No one was wearing No. 1 at the Gil Alvarado Memorial 5K and one-mile fun run/walk Saturday at Riverstone Park.

At least no one on Earth.

“I thought it was very important No. 1 was always going to be reserved for Gil,” said race organizer Eric Reade. “No. 1 is in heaven with God right now and he’s looking down at us. So, you're not going to see a No. 1. You can’t request a No. 1.”

There was a No. 2, and that was worn by Jill Alvarado, Gil's wife.

“It’s really nice that everybody comes out to support this because the benevolence program was really close to Gil’s heart," she said. "He really enjoyed helping people and guiding them to the Lord. It’s nice that they keep it going for him.”

On a cool, sunny morning, about 75 adults and kids ran and walked either a 5K or a one-mile course on the North Idaho Centennial Trail. Both races were untimed and started and finished at Riverstone Park.

The event was put on by Candlelight Christian Fellowship to honor Alvarado and as a fundraiser for its benevolence program. Gil Alvarado led the church’s benevolence efforts for about 10 years before he died in March 2019 after a battle with cancer.

Reade said Alvarado played a key role the distribution of about $500,000 to those in need in the past decade.

One hundred percent of donations to the program go back into the community to help people facing any number of challenges, from paying rent to buying groceries to repairing a car.

“You can see the importance of what we do as a church,” said Reade, who now leads Candlelight’s benevolence program.

Reade said Alvarado served in the military and “was an amazing man.” He saw to it that the church didn’t just give money to the needy, but offered spiritual support, as well. It didn’t matter if they were Christian or of another faith.

“All we do as Christians is we witness and we plant the seed and that’s what Gil did and many times when he planted that seed, they accepted Christ,” Reade said.

Nachelle Corey, Alvarado’s daughter, completed the one-mile walk and outkicked her mom in the final yards as they both laughed as they charged to the finish line.

“Feels good to come out and think about him,” Corey said of her dad. “He would just feel real blessed.”

Jill Alvarado agreed.

“He would love that this was happening,” she said. “He would just be thrilled.”

And she was well pleased to wear No. 2.

“I like that they did that,” she said.