"We gather with heavy hearts, hearts that are broken, to laugh together, to cry together, to remember all you gave us in the life of Reid." With that opening prayer, uttered by Pastor Russ Ooms of The Father's House, the life of Reid Gates was celebrated with scripture, songs, stories and a slide show.
The service was held in the gym of Cedaredge High School Sept. 14 and transmitted via the Internet to an overflow crowd at Cedaredge Middle School.
Reid Gates was remembered as a son, a grandson, a brother and a friend, an outstanding athlete and a student leader. He was 17.
During the service, Reid was recognized for his wonderful smile, his strong work ethic, and his ability to reach out and touch the lives of others. "He was good at life," his father Ken said.
In the Gates family, relationships are the "one thing" — relationships with friends and family, but above all a relationship with God. Ken Gates said Reid wanted to exploit his God-given talents to create a platform from which he could relate to other people.
"We need more people like that," he said.
He confessed he's puzzled why Reid's life was cut short. "The coach usually leaves the best players in the game," he said. But his faith in the coach, the Lord, remains powerful and a source of strength for all those struggling to understand the tragic accident that claimed Reid and injured two others. That faith has been an inspiration to others throughout the ordeal.
Pastor Ooms said the question in the Gates' household, "What's the one thing?" is a question about purpose, about goals. It helps keep a man centered, he said.
His sister, Jheri Stelzer, agreed Reid never lost sight of the most important thing — relationships. She also talked about his fearlessness, leadership and competitiveness, using several stories from friends to shape an image of a fun-loving, adventurous kid who pushed the limits in all he did.
Pastor Bill Williamson, whose sons are two of those friends, remembered how Reid befriended his family when they first moved to Cedaredge. "He knew how to treat people with respect, old and young, and he had a wonderful, welcoming smile," Pastor Williamson said. "His mom and dad and all the rest of us are going to miss that smile."
Head football coach Brandon Milholland, speaking on behalf of all Reid's coaches, said Reid "had it all." He was a tremendous athlete with a great work ethic who strived to make his best better every day. "He gave it his all in every play, every sport," Coach Milholland said.
He was also a "true leader," Coach Milholland said. "From now on when we talk about leadership, Reid Gates is our example."
Reid was born at the Air Force Academy Hospital on Nov. 22, 1995, and traveled the world with his military family, parents Ken and Cheryl and siblings Jheri and Shane.
"He had the opportunity to experience many cultures and many places," said Pastor Williamson. He lived in Colorado, Louisiana, Virginia, Nevada and even Bolivia before moving to Cedaredge five years ago. He quickly established roots in the community and was one of the 56 members of Cedaredge High School's senior class.
Earlier last week, Kevin Gardner, principal at CHS, talked about the impact Reid's death has had on the school and the community. Gardner came to Cedaredge High School from a large school in Douglas County. "Coming from a school of 2,000, unfortunately you deal with these things more regularly, whether a kid passes away from cancer or is in a car wreck. The city keeps going; school carries on. The death impacts a small group of kids, those who were closest."
"But the impact this has had on Cedaredge is huge. Not that they don't feel the pain in a big school. But here it's more widespread ... the empathy, the understanding and the support are more widespread. It makes you better understand how truly special a place like this is."
Schools in Delta County and across the state have expressed sympathy in a variety of ways, from posters of thir student bodies dressed all in blue (Cedaredge's school colors), to bouquets of flowers lining the counter of the school office.
Memorial contributions may be made in Reid's memory to the Bruins Boys Benefit Fund at SurfaceCreek Bank, 945 S. Grand Mesa Drive, Cedaredge, or any bank branch.
Prayers continue to pour out for Tyler Cooper and Aaron Henrie, the other two boys who were overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning. Tyler has been released from the hospital but stayed in Denver to offer support to Aaron. There's been encouraging news about Aaron's steady improvement.blog comments powered by Disqus