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Growing with Intention 

Turning a tragic community loss into a benefit for the Kefa Project

On October 1, 2021, Bend local, extreme outdoor athlete and kayaker, Alex Vincent Kollar, passed away. Alex is survived by his mother, Ruthanne Adams, his father, James Kollar, his Soul's Connection Life Partner, Kim Benrath, and was preceded in death by his brother Philip Hunter Kollar. 

During his 28 years on the planet, Alex developed a deep connection with Rwanda while mentoring at-risk youth over three consecutive summers.

Family and friends have held several fundraisers to honor the memory of local kayaker
 and outdoors-person Alex Kollar. A third takes place Friday at Silver Moon. - COURTESY COLTON JACOBS
  • Courtesy Colton Jacobs
  • Family and friends have held several fundraisers to honor the memory of local kayaker and outdoors-person Alex Kollar. A third takes place Friday at Silver Moon.

To honor Alex's memory, in partnership with the Kefa Project, his family developed the Alex Kollar Memorial Fund. This fund is dedicated to purchasing farmland and agricultural equipment for Rwandan families in the short term. In the long term, the fund aims to provide Rwandan families with continuing education, to pay maintenance costs and to teach sustainable living practices. 

Ruthanne Adams, Alex's mother, along with Alex's community, has already rallied nearly $45,000 in funds through social media posts linking to the GoFundMe page, at the Ineffable release party and during a recent Bend Maker's Market. The fund is still $5,000 short of its most immediate goal to purchase farmland. 

Ruthanne invites the community to a third fundraising event slated for December 17 from 6-8pm at Silver Moon Brewing. One dollar from every pint purchased will be contributed to the Memorial Fund. The night will include a raffle, silent auction and live reggae jams. Raffle and auction items include art and gear from outdoor brands, photography, jewelry, local restaurant gift cards, climbing gym passes, gift baskets, one-of-a-kind Alex Kollar media, plus snowboard and bike gear. 

Sarah Pascal, who worked aside Kollar at Mt. Bachelor, felt compelled to do something in Alex's honor and chose to spearhead the Silver Moon Brewing event. To explain why, she says, "The thing you hear about Alex over and over is how his spirit preceded him. To be around Alex was to feel what a special soul he was. No matter how small the encounter. It was also obvious because he was always smiling and just stoked on, well...everything! Just someone who was wonderful to be around. My heart is so heavy for his family and everyone who loves him. I'm so sad that we won't get the chance to experience what Alex had up his sleeve next." 

Although extreme sports were Kollar's deepest passion, Ruthanne says, "As his enthusiasm for extreme sports grew, Alex manifested how he would support himself, starting out as an assistant for a local landscaper, learning and growing while imagining how he might build his own business. Working with his hands and being connected to the soil was in Alex's bones. He thrived as the sole proprietor of his own landscape company, High Desert Earthworks. His business flourished on thoughtful relationships that grew alongside his native plants."

Alex was an expert outdoors man and revered within the mountaineering, backcountry snowboarding, paragliding, mountain biking and kayaking communities. Through outdoor sports and his career in landscaping, he cared deeply about the planet.

An excerpt from his memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Central Oregon, written by Alex's family reads:

"Alex's heart was also deeply committed to sustainability and the future of our planet. He explored remote mountain wilderness and saw the impact humans have on our planet. His desire to preserve these wondrous places grew and he used his platform to inspire others and raise awareness about climate change."

For these reasons, to help Alex live out his dream and intentions beyond his earthly passing, family and friends of Alex hope the Bend community will give generously to the Alex Kollar Memorial Fund at the Silver Moon event and into the future. 

Just prior to his passing, Alex said on social media channel, "On my deathbed, I won't wish anything was different. The places, the people and all that damn powder. Now we just have to save the planet so our grandkids can do it too."

A note from Alex's family: Please share the GoFundMe page link on social media and with friends far and wide. The more funds we can raise, the greater we are celebrating Alex's life.

Alex Kollar Memorial Fund Fundraiser
During the Rubbah Tree concert
Fri, Dec. 17 6-8pm
Silver Moon Brewing
24 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend


About The Author

K.M. Collins

A native Oregonian, K.M. Collins is a geologist-gone-writer. Covering everything outdoors and a spectrum of journalism, she's a jack of all whitewater sports and her favorite beat is anything river related. Don't blow her cover as a freshwater mermaid amongst humans.
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