Life Jacket Donor Station dedicated at Deep Bay Park

Gary DeVon/staff photo Oroville Border Patrol Explorers (L-R) Katelyn Whiteaker, Teresa Fast, Mark Fast and Melinda Clark at the dedication of the new life jacket donor station at Oroville. Patrol Explorer in Charge Whiteakier said that the post raised funds to build the two stations and Midway Building Supply donated much of the materials.

Gary DeVon/staff photo
Oroville Border Patrol Explorers (L-R) Katelyn Whiteaker, Teresa Fast, Mark Fast and Melinda Clark at the dedication of the new life jacket donor station at Oroville. Patrol Explorer in Charge Whiteakier said that the post raised funds to build the two stations and Midway Building Supply donated much of the materials.

Tragedy leads Explorers to take on safety project

OROVILLE – On Sunday, April 8 the Oroville Border Patrol Station’s Explorer Post dedicate a new life jacket donar station at Deep Bay Park, the second of two they have built for swimmers and boaters on Lake Osoyoos.

A tragedy on the lake and just across the border in Canada led Border Patrol Agent John Taffolla to suggest building life jacket donar stations at Oroville’s two lakeside city parks, according to Kolo Moser, Patrol Agent In Charge United States Border Patrol Spokane Sector, Oroville Station. Tafolla, the lead advisor to the Oroville Explorers, boarded a boat on Lake Osoyoos and responded to a search and rescue of a young girl who was in distress at Haynes Point, near the United States/Canadian Border.

“When BPA Tafolla arrived on scene, another vessel was pulling 12-year-old Naziah Mohammed’s body from the water. The following investigation concluded that 12-year-old; Naziha Mohammed did not know how to swim and was not wearing a lifejacket while walking the shoreline in shallow water with her friend when she suddenly stepped into deeper water,” said Moser, in his invitation to the life jacket donor station’s dedication.

The windy conditions that day and the sudden drop off/steepness of the lake bottom contributed to dragging Naziha further away from shore leading to her drowning near the shoreline in 10 feet of water.

“Border Patrol Agent Tafolla, the father of three young children recognized a way to perhaps prevent another drowning tragedy. He, the United States Border Patrol and the Border Patrol Explorers would make it a priority to work with the City of Oroville, Midway Building Supply and other local stakeholders to build two life jacket donor stations on Lake Osoyoos, the first at Deep Bay Park and the second at Veterans Memorial Park,” said Moser.

After obtaining the necessary permission from the city of Oroville, the Border Patrol Explorers along with Oroville Border Patrol Agents, completed the project in the fall of 2017.

“The donor station works on the honor system. If you need a life jacket you just borrow one and then bring it back when you’re done with it,” said Tafolla at the dedication.

 

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.