In Memoriam, Cedric Alvarez
Passion for Community Service
We first met Cedric in 2011, when our program helped build a dormitory addition for the volunteer firehouse. He proved to be instrumental in connecting VISIONS to the heart and soul of the beautiful community of Patate. Cedric crossed language borders and truly befriended VISIONS participants, memorizing their names and the details that make each of them unique.
All the VISIONS participants adored spending time with Cedric. He was friendly, full of laughter, and always lent a hand (usually two) when we needed expert assistance on home base repairs or extra help on construction projects.
“He brought joy and laughter to those of us lucky enough to get to know him. He was so much more than a work partner. He was a friend and confidant. He will be missed more than words can illuminate,” Kodee said.
On June 25th, Cedric was with four of his fellow firemen searching for a drowning victim when their raft flipped over in the Patate River. His four crewmembers were able to swim to safety, but in the particularly fast and turbulent section of river, Cedric was pulled away by the powerful current. He was 33 years old.
On the day of Cedric’s funeral, firefighters came from every corner of Ecuador to honor their comrade. In the procession from the church to the cemetery, over a thousand people shuffled down the main street with flowers in hand accompanied by the Quito firefighter’s band. It was evident how great of an impact he had on his community and family, and we hope his loved ones know that as a friend and role model to VISIONS, Cedric touched the lives of many far and wide.
The VISIONS Ecuador & Galapagos leader team was there in Patate when Cedric passed. With students arriving in less than a week, the leaders found themselves in a challenging position. This year’s Ecuador Director, Charly Blackwood, expressed a deep appreciation for the community and Cedric’s family who stepped forward to honor Cedric’s passion in their time of grief.
Carolina helped to organize an improvement project at the elementary school, painting and laying cement for the driveway. VISIONS participants painted three classrooms, one of which is Cedric’s daughter’s.
Thanks to the community, Cedric’s family and VISIONS leaders and participants all working together, Cedric’s passion for community service lives on.