Source: Valley Roadrunner

Fundraiser held for the Collin Barnes Memorial

Staff Writer

May 22, 2014

A savings account has been opened at California Bank and Trust at 29124 Valley Center Road in Valley Center in which all proceeds will go to the Collin Barnes Memorial Fund. Barnes, a 21-year-old college student, died in 2012 from heat stroke after hiking in Valley Center.

The proceeds donated to his foundation will be donated to build the second phase addition at Ridgeview Church in Collin’s memory.

Collin was actively involved in the church and for five years was the youth pastor at Ridgeview Church located at 28094 North Lake Wohlford Road in Valley Center.

Collin’s family moved from Encinitas to Valley Center in 2004 when Collin was in the eighth grade.

“While we’re here, we’re not going to play videos all summer,” said Ellen Barnes, Collin’s mother. “We’re going to do volunteer work for the community.”

Ellen’s guidance encouraged her children to help others, which shaped her son’s future with the church and the community.

Right after moving to Valley Center, Collin volunteered at Ridgeview Bible Vacation Camp.

“He fell in love with the kids and the church,” said Ellen. “All the kids loved him. He did a lot of things for the church. Collin made a very big impact on the people in the community.”

In fact, he made such an impression on other churches in the community that he was invited to speak at other church services. Often, Ellen’s son would speak at Ridgeview Church and the church pastor would leave allowing Collin to speak during the entire church service.

Not only was Collin actively involved with the church and the community, he was highly recognized and very much a part of the Christian fellowship at school.

An avid baseball player, Collin was involved in the sport at Valley Center High School. His family is also raising funds for the Collin Barnes Baseball Scholarship in which a $1,000 scholarship for baseball will be awarded to a student at Valley Center High School.

“The student awarded the scholarship should have beliefs similar to Collin’s beliefs,” said Ellen. “The scholarship will be awarded to someone who could be struggling and doesn’t have the money to get into baseball camp or for someone who wants to go to college.”

The proceeds of the memorial fund will go directly to the second phase building of the Youth Center at Ridgeview Church. The first phase was completed costing approximately $25,000 for grading, tree removal, and the installation of a septic system. For the first phase, the play “Fiddler on the Roof” was presented seven evenings in which Collin was remembered with a series of photographs.

“They talked about Collin at the beginning of the play,” said Ellen in remembrance of her son. The production of the play raised $6,000, which went toward construction of the first phase of the Youth Center.

Another $25,000 is needed for the second phase of the construction of the Ridgeview Church Youth Center being built to honor Collin. Included in the projected plans for the center is an outdoor kitchen and an area set aside for a memorial garden. The garden will feature a bench and flowers in memory of Collin. The possibility of a basketball court is also being considered.

Collin led a full life that included a busy schedule working as a preschool teacher at Ridgeview Church in the morning then attending Palomar Community College in the afternoon.

“He wanted to be a teacher,” said Ellen. “He started taking a full load, so it was taking him longer.” His plans were to attend San Diego State or Cal State San Marcos. At 21 years of age, Collin was in his third year of college.

“One day Collin came home from school at 6:30 p.m.,” Ellen said. “He said he was going to hike up the mountain to watch the sunset.”

It was September 13, 2012. It had been a particularly hot day reaching temperatures in the 90’s. Although his parents discouraged him from taking the hike up Flat Top Mountain because it was getting late, Collin could not be dissuaded. Instead he put on his headphones to listen to music then took off running.

“I watched him go to the top, then he went around the mountain,” said Ellen. He disappeared, not returning. Continual calls were placed to Collin without a response. Ellen and her husband used a four-wheel quad to locate their son, but it got stuck in a rut. A frantic emergency call was placed to the Sheriff’s Department.

“The sheriffs arrived with flashlights and took us up the mountain,” said Ellen.

Collin was found lying on the ground. Based on the conditions for that day, Collin had suffered a fatal heat stroke from over-exertion.

Collin is survived by his parents and his sister Nicole who currently attends college in Oakland.

“Collin had a deep passion to be a pastor and hoped that God would lead him in the right direction,” Ellen said.

At such a young age, Collin Barnes made a remarkable impact on everyone he met. He was loved by his family, peers, and friends, and his mother said he was well-received in the community as a respected role model and someone to look up to.

In his son’s memory, Barry Stepan along with chainsaw artist Perry Carlson, are offering hand-carved crosses and carved bears, even a large praying bear and a seven-foot angel for donations at a minimum of $50, which will go to the Collins Barnes Memorial Fund. Larger bears as well as custom pieces are also offered. Free custom inscriptions on the carved wooden bears are available. To place your custom order or for more information on donating to the Collin Barnes Memorial Fund, call (760) 749-8546. For a bear or cross carving or to view other wood carving selections you can visit 29540 Mac Tan Road in Valley Center. For additional information about custom carvings, visit Those who would like to make a tax-deductible donation can send a check written directly to Ridgeview Church.