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Scout Lake drowning victim ID’d as Redmond woman, Warm Springs teacher

(Update: Sheriff's office identifies victim; teaching background)

SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Monday identified a Mother's Day drowning victim at Scout Lake northwest of Sisters as a Redmond woman who most recently taught at the Warm Springs K-8 Academy after more than a decade with Redmond schools.

A 911 report around 12:35 p.m. brought Oregon State Police, Jefferson County deputies and Sisters-Camp Sherman medics to the scene, a small lake south of Suttle Lake on the Deschutes National Forest, about 12 miles northwest of Sisters.

Undersheriff Marc Heckathorne said 911 dispatchers were told a woman had fallen from her stand-up paddleboard into the lake, was pulled from the water and CPR was started.

Sisters-Camp Sherman medics took over resuscitation efforts upon arrival, but were unable to revive Valerie Mallory, 44, who was at the lake with family and friends. She was not wearing a life jacket, Heckathorn said.

Last month, in a testimonial posted to the Warm Springs academy's Facebook page, Mallory wrote:

“I am a firm believer that children do well when they can.

"I see myself as a teacher who works hard to make connections and build relationships with my students and families.

"The goal for me is to connect with kiddos who need one more person in their corner.

"When the child is not doing well, I want to be there to support, connect and help he or she build skills to make it in this fast-paced world," Mallory said.

Mallory previously taught for 11 years in Redmond at the former Evergreen Elementary School, as well as John Tuck and Tom McCall elementary schools, school district officials confirmed.

Mallory joined the Warm Springs K-8 Academy staff in the fall of 2018 and worked as a special education teacher who focused on supporting students with behavioral needs, according to Lynn Evans, human resources manager with Jefferson County School District 509-J.

A letter being crafted Monday to send to parents from Principal Bambi VanDyke and Superintendent Ken Parshall reads in part:

"Mrs. Mallory was a champion for students, and everyone who knew her connected easily with her. She was a leader on our school team who had been relentless about keeping everyone together for our students during the pandemic."

During more typical times of in-class learning, grief counselors are brought to schools to help with such tragic circumstances.

Under the current distance learning system, Evans said, "We are making those resources available. They'll just have to be provided differently."

Parents are being given the phone numbers of counselors, and those with access to technology can arrange Zoom meetings. Calls are being made to the students and parents Mallory worked closely with, Evans said.

It appeared to be the first drowning at Scout Lake since July of 2019, when an 18-year-old Redmond man died while swimming with friends.

"The warm weather and loosening of stay home orders have brought people from their homes out into the woods and lakes in high numbers to recreate this weekend," Heckathorn said in a Facebook posting.

"This is a very sad reminder of the need for all boaters to wear or have immediately available a personal flotation device when on the water," the undersheriff said.

Late last week, the Oregon State Marine Board noted there had been five boating fatalities on Oregon's waterways this spring, all with two things in common -- not wearing life jackets, and cold water.

Article Topic Follows: Accidents and Crashes

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