Turning Tragedy Into A Helping Hand: Georgia Alvarez


In 1991, Butte County’s Georgia Alvarez lived through every parent’s worst nightmare when her 9-year-old son, Joseph, died of leukemia. Two years later, Georgia turned that tragedy into a lifeline for others enduring the same challenges: She founded Wings of Eagles – The Joseph Alvarez Organization for Seriously Ill Children.

Since 1993, Wings of Eagles has helped hundreds of families in Butte, Glenn, Tehama and Colusa counties with the often insurmountable costs and emotional burden of medical treatment.

We spoke with Georgia about what inspired her to turn heartache into a helping hand, and this is what she had to say:

art-0301-btc2What has been your biggest life lesson?

The realization that our purpose, each and every one of us on this earth, is to help our fellow man without expectation. This life is just part of the journey on a continuing adventure, so make the best of it!

Do you have a favorite quote or song?

My favorite quote is “People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget the way you made them feel.” My favorite songs are “Man of Constant Sorrow,” by the Soggy Bottom Boys; “Welcome to the Black Parade,” by My Chemical Romance; and “Warning,” by Incubus.

Who inspires you?

Joseph, my son, definitely has inspired me. Edgar Cayce, “the sleeping prophet,” is another. He gave his talents for free and lived a very humble life. Mother Theresa has also inspired me.

What are your life goals?

To expand Wings of Eagles into every rural county in California, to finish my third book and to have my first book turned into a play, to be the best wife, mother and grandmother I can be, and to someday retire and leave Wings of Eagles in good hands.

What philosophy do you live by?

Anything is possible with God. If you can dream it, then envision it and believe in that vision – you can achieve it. Be ye kind to one another.

What would you say to others who have experienced tragedy and overcome it?

It’s said that time heals all wounds, so I would probably ask them how long it has been since they lost their loved one. Overcoming tragedy is extremely rare; learning how to live again while dealing with tragedy is usually the case. To overcome something puts the person at risk of forgetting. I cherish every memory I have, good or bad.

art-0301-btc3What is the one moment in your life that stands out above all others?

Honestly, the moments that stand out in my life are way too many. Having said that, when I hear my daughters, granddaughters and husband tell me they love me, that is a really great moment. I’m happy and fortunate to hear them say that they love and respect me for who I am. I know in my heart that I am rich because I am loved by my family.

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue of our time?

The most pressing issue facing our world today is alcohol and legal and illegal drug and substance abuse, all of which are too easily accessible. I truly believe the age for smoking and drinking should be elevated to the age of 25 because that is the age when the brain is fully developed. We need to find a solution to this problem soon because it is affecting our whole social structure morally and financially.

Anything else you’d like to add?

To learn more about my life and the reason I started Wing of Eagles – The Joseph Alvarez Organization, please read my book The Simple Plan – A Book of Hope/A Book of Dreams, which is available on Amazon.com. It will be available soon online in audio form.

Also, Wings of Eagles has a fundraiser coming up. The First Annual Golf Tournament will be held on May 5, 2016, starting at noon at Skyway Golf Park in Chico. Teams are needed and hole sponsorships are available. For information call (530) 636-4278. 

To contact Georgia and Wings of Eagles, visit http://www.wingsofeagles.org or call (530) 893-9231. 

Skye Kinkade
About Skye Kinkade

Skye Kinkade is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and mother of four lively children. She enjoys being part of a close-knit community that is so generous and kind in difficult times.

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