LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- Staff at the Lane County Sheriff's Office are stunned and saddened by the death of Deputy Courtney Couch at Foster Reservoir over the weekend.
Couch was off-duty, out paddleboarding with her son and her sister on Sunday when the trouble began. She sprang into action to try to help a young child she didn't know. Officials say she slipped off her paddleboard in the process.
Just before 2 p.m. that day, Linn County deputies responded to reports of an unconscious woman in the water at Lewis Creek Park, east of Sweet Home.
Couch was not wearing a life jacket when she was pulled out of the water. Witness Felicia Raissner said she believes Couch removed her life jacket in order to dive in the water.
"There had to be about 30 or 40 of us, all of us just started yelling, 'Come on, Courtney, breathe, take a breath, honey, you can do this,'" Raissner said. "We were just trying to coach her to try and take a breath, and then the ambulance finally got there, and still all of us were still yelling, just trying to get her to breathe, and I know she didn't."
Couch left an impact on everyone who came into contact with her. Deputies at the Lane County Sheriff's Office said out of all her titles, being a mom was the one she loved most.
"She was an amazing person in the way that each relationship she had was unique," said Deputy Ken Clark. "She wasn't one way all the time; she was able just to adapt and be everything for everybody's different needs."
Deputy and close friend Amanda Campbell said she will miss Couch's energy and her sarcastic, witty comments the most.
Understandably, Couch's family is still very much in shock.
Her husband, Ian Anderson, said they met in the Army and got married in 2013 after coming home from Afghanistan together.
"I never thought that I would have to go through this, ever in my life," Anderson said. "She gave me a beautiful and amazing son, just full of life. It sucks that she's not going to see him grow up like we thought we would together. But she was an outstanding woman."
Anderson said Couch lived by the Golden Rule: to treat everyone the way you'd like to be treated. He said she never judged a book by its cover. Anderson encourages everybody to do the same.