By Stephanie Bunker
Moapa Valley Progress
The sixth annual Eric Lee Memorial 5K run was held in Alamo on Saturday. Eric Lee grew up in Moapa Valley but eventually moved to Alamo with his wife Trisha and young children. Lee died in September 2006 in an auto accident. Since then, every spring, friends and family get together to honor him.
Andrea Jorgensen and Kate Stewart, who are close family friends decided to do something to keep Eric’s name alive.
“Eric was such a giver, he gave his all to work, community, and country,” Stewart said.
The two created a scholarship fund for graduating Seniors. Those that desired to participate in the 5 K run donate 20 dollars and they received a T-shirt.
“All of the money received goes to one graduating high school student,” explained Jorgensen. “The scholarship goes to family first, but if there is no family graduating that year, then the students are asked to write an essay on patriotism to be considered.”
Usually the scholarship is between $2,000 to $3,000. One year expectations were exceeded to $6,000!
Friends and family gathered at 8:30 am. and observed 30 seconds of silence to remember Lee. A song written by Eric’s brother, Bret Lee was then played. It began with the sounds of Eric and his kids talking recorded from an old voicemail Bret had saved. Bret said he wrote the song a month after Eric died.
“It was a no brainer and it came together really fast,” Bret said.
A while later everyone was off on their 5K journey. The route started at the Alamo fire station, and wound its way through the small town. As the runners crossed the finish line, the crowd cheered them on.
Trisha, Erics wife, completes the 5K every year. Even though she was sick this year, she still walked it.
“This is something I look forward to every year,” she said. “It honors him and reminds us of him.”
“Out of all the things to commemorate Eric, we do a run, although, if Eric were here he would have just sat and watched everyone else run,” said Kim Lee, Eric’s father.
Lee served in the Marines and later was a firefighter for Clark County for 5 years. But Lee’s service did not stop there. Colleague and friend, Lonny Walch told the story about how Eric asked him how he could become involved in the local volunteer fire department in Alamo. Walch quickly informed him of a meeting to be held that night concerning the local volunteer fire department. In Lee’s first meeting, he was appointed Fire Chief.