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C. Oregon firm honors young Kansas drowning victim


An 11-year-old boy fell into a Wichita, Kansas, creek in late May, and a Central Oregon company sprang into action after getting a special request.

When the Loch family learned of the death of Devon Cooley, they were heartbroken. To honor the young skateboarder’s memory, they dedicated an item from their own merchandise to his middle school.

“I thought I would have him in my life for the rest of my life,” Devon’s aunt said Thursday.

Devon was on his way to skateboard with his friends after school, but when he tried to cross the swollen Gypsum Creek, he was swept away. A week later, search teams found his body.

“We all can relate that losing someone, anyone, is a really tough thing. Losing a child? That’s hands down the hardest. Kids aren’t supposed to go early, they’re supposed to enjoy their life and be free and grow up,” said Norah Loch, the co-owner of Loch Unlimited Inc.

More than a thousand miles away, in Central Oregon, the drowning of Devon Cooley hit Norah and Curt Loch hard.

“It hits home,” Curt Loch said. “Later on, we found out that Devon’s birthday is the same day as our oldest daughter. They’re the same age. Whether they live in Wichita or Bend, it wasn’t about where they lived.”

The Lochs were at work at their skateboard lock manufacturing shop in Redmond when they received a call from Devon’s middle school.

“We were contacted by Brianna at the school, and she was interested in the skateboard rack and what we could do to make it special for Devon,” said Curt.

That was when they decided to help. Even though the funds already were collected to pay for this rack, a team of Central Oregon businesses took care of the costs.

CR Fabrication in Redmond helped with the manufacturing of the Loch Unlimited skateboard rack. Deschutes Pediatric Dentistry helped with the shipping costs, and Commercial Powder Coating out of Bend gave the rack its beautiful purple color — for the Purple Pumas, the work group Devon was associated with at Meade Middle School.

The skateboard rack will stand at the school as a memorial of Devon’s love of skateboarding and life.

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