Tuesday, September 30, 2014

VIDEO: Ericlee Gilmore's "Celebration of Life" on September 13, 2014

Many of you have asked if it would be possible to see a recording of "Ericlee's Celebration of Life" Memorial service held on September 13 at People's Church. We are grateful for your interest in sharing this with our family.

Below is a link where you can watch the entire service:

At the reception, we served up Armenian food and had an opportunity for friends and family to share memories through written cards, encouragement written on Jenga tiles for the girls and video. We will treasure these stories of ways Ericlee influenced many individuals in the community. These serve as a legacy for my girls and testimony for the future. We encourage you to share your own memories & stories here on the blog or on the "Ericlee Memorial" Facebook group.

~Dorina Gilmore

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ericlee Gilmore Memorial Row-a-thon hosted Saturday at CrossFit CombatFitness

The following speech I shared Saturday at the Ericlee Memorial Rowathon at CrossFit Combat Fitness in Fresno where Ericlee coached:

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for coming out today to compete and support our family and organization. Thank you to all our sponsors and vendors, and especially to Erik Traeger and CrossFit Combat Fitness for hosting this event and so many others. As you can imagine this has been a difficult several months for us as Ericlee was battling cancer, but today my spirits are truly lifted as I stand at this event and see so many people joining together to make one of my husband’s dreams come alive.

 Ericlee was an athlete his whole life. He played basketball, football and ran track and field. His specialty was the long jump and he even competed in track & field in college and tried out for the Olympics. He eventually went on to coach those sports. He was infamous with his athletes for two things: his oversized straw hat and creating tough conditioning workouts. This, of course, was pre-CrossFit days.

When Ericlee found CrossFit several years ago, I believe he found his sweet spot. He personally loved the challenge of the workouts and the idea that this sport was about all-around fitness. One of my most recent memories of Ericlee in this gym was this past April when he decided to raise money doing a 40th birthday WOD. He put the word out to friends, family and clients that he would let them create a birthday WOD for him if they donated money toward Haiti. I believe it was his Boot Camp crew who created a brutal workout for him. True to form, he went for it. My three girls and I all came out to cheer him on as he went up against that ridiculous workout, which clearly was designed to make him exercise his weaknesses. It was a Courageous moment but that’s what Ericlee was all about. He was not afraid to face the difficult, the unknown, to take a challenge head on, and with that huge signature smile of his! Little did we know, he was fighting an aggressive form of melanoma cancer at the time.

Ericlee was not content to just do CrossFit himself. He wanted to share CrossFit with everyone and anyone who would listen. He coached here at CrossFit Combat Fitness but he also brought CrossFit to his athletes at Fresno Christian High School, the women who were part of our Wednesday Go Mama Workouts, just about any friend who was interested in getting in shape, and even to the people of Haiti.

Ericlee was a man of conviction. He was passionate about sharing his faith and offering a hand up to the people of Haiti. Following the footsteps of his pioneer grandparents who served in Haiti, my husband courageously served as the director of Christian Friendship Ministries. Through the years, he was a catalyst for many projects and partnerships with leaders in Haiti. He also brought Haiti to the CrossFit community. Again, thank you to all of you who have joined us these past five years as part of the Remember Haiti Fitness series. I still remember many late-night conversations with Ericlee about all the details of what this could look like. He built it from the ground up and I am truly awed to see how many people in the community have a heart for Haiti as a result.

Today we are raising awareness and funds for two of Ericlee’s dream projects: the first is for the largest school that is part of our non-profit. If you traveled to Haiti with me today, we would take a bumpy truck ride together into the northern mountains of the country and into the city of Pignon. We would pull in the front gate of the school and our truck would be mobbed by hundreds of school children, sticking their fingers in the windows, flashing crazy smiles for your cameras. Ericlee loved these children. As a teacher, he desired for them to get a solid education. As a coach, he desired for them to have a place to stretch and play and compete. Last year we raised money for a playground for the kids, which stands beautiful and regal today at that school. In fact, it’s the talk of the town because there’s nothing like it for miles around. This year we are raising money to complete the play yard with a smooth, cement top replacing the sharp gravel where they play now. We also are raising funds toward another wild and beautiful dream of Ericlee’s – equipment for a CrossFit-style gym for the city.
As you row and sweat and cheer today, I ask you to envision our friends in Haiti. I challenge you to lean in hard, to push yourself and to hear that booming coaching voice of my husband saying, “You can do it. Dig deep. One more.” I have no doubts that his spirit is here with us in this place.
I’d like to conclude with one of Ericlee’s favorite Bible verses. He was a man who loved to read God’s Word and use it to inspire during any workout. In 2 Timothy 4:7 it says,
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
This is what my man was all about – fighting through the difficult, finishing his race well and all the while keeping his faith. I pray today that you, too, will be challenged by his courageous example.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Courage: Ericlee's gift to us

The following video was shared at Ericlee's "Celebration of Life" last Saturday:

I wanted to share this message about COURAGE with all of you as well.

How has Ericlee challenged you to have Courage in your own life? Please share a story here with us.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Tribute to Ericlee by Paul Lazo

A beautiful tribute written by my brother Paul Lazo, who walked by my side in these last few months through the trials, the fear, the hard days of caring for my man. He was the one lifting my head, doing research, making phone calls, literally carrying Ericlee toward the finish. I'm grateful beyond words for his support and this beautiful picture of victory...

"In his last few days I was blessed to help Ericlee through a long, grueling night. But in his quiet moments I saw this…

The sun is setting, a crowd has gathered at the finish line. Off in the distance, the first head appears over the horizon. Then another and another. Soon the runners rise into view. The cheers grow to a roar as the first crosses the line closely followed by a second and third. Steam rises from their bodies as they cool down by pacing around.

Then the questions begin. Where is he? Is he ok? One runner says, “I lost track of him about a mile back.” Another agrees and adds, “I thought I saw him kneeling to tie his shoe.” Where could he be? Another said, “He was right behind me as we came up the last hill. In fact, he was coaching me to make that last push.” Then a voice cried out, “There he is! He's coming up the hill.” How could she tell? At this point, the sun was low and only a silhouette showed the figure of a runner. He was limping and obviously in pain. He hunched down for a moment gripping his right leg with his hands. 

Then he lifted his head to the sky and let out a scream.

By now the crowd had gone silent and his painful yell sent chills through the air. He began to walk again, then his pace got faster and faster. He cried out again, “I'm ok! I can do this!” His family, friends, the people he had touched over the years had now lined the path and were cheering him on. His wife and three girls started yelling to him, “c'mon daddy, your almost there.” His mom, stood in silence with her hands together prayerfully in front of the smile on her face.

As he approached, the officials grabbed another ribbon and stretched it across the finish line. We held our breathe anticipating his grand completion. With the last ounce of energy and the last breathe of air he stretched out his arms in victory. As the ribbon broke the sun set and darkness fell. A tear rolled down my cheek as I realized, I never said goodbye. To this father, son, brother, coach, missionary, and friend. How could he know that I loved him and I was proud of him and I would never forget him.

Then I see him. He is lit up. At the top of the hill, past the finish line and high above the crowd. He is standing strong and tall. His body is restored and he is looking back at us. There is a smile on his face as he claps his hands together and waves goodbye. His eyes are gleaming and his face bright. There is no need for words. He turns towards the light and continues on.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Celebration of Ericlee's Life" Memorial Service details

My sweet love, Ericlee, just made an Olympic-sized long jump into the arms of Jesus this morning. I am truly grateful that my courageous man will no longer have to suffer here on earth. How the girls and I will miss him but my heart rests knowing we will be reunited again one day in GLORY. 

We invite you to join us this Saturday, September 13 at 11 a.m. for "A Celebration of Ericlee's Life" at People's Church. A reception will follow at the Fresno Christian School gymnasium, a short walk across the parking from People's Church. You are encouraged to park on the north side of the campus near Alluvial or the east side near Jackson Park Place. Address of Peoples Church is 7172 N. Cedar Ave, Fresno, CA 93720. The weather will be hot so please plan accordingly. Children welcome at the celebration. We will have an opportunity for you to share stories & memories of Ericlee in community at the reception.

Out-of-town friends & family: My brother Paul Lazo is available to help you with travel plans and finding accommodations. We have several friends who have volunteered their homes for guests and some designated hotels where others are staying. We have discovered there is a Fresno State football game on Saturday so many hotels are full and be aware of traffic near Shaw & Cedar Avenues.