By Lee Revis

Community leader dies after ATV accident Monday

Karen Stewart, WESC founder, mourned by community


Source: City of Valdez

Karen Davey Stewart, a community leader in Valdez, died in an ATV accident Monday evening.

"God take our friend and hold her tight," read one of numerous posts to her Facebook page Monday. "She was a special lady to so many of us."

According to the city's public information office, Valdez Police and Fire Departments responded to the scene of the fatal all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident early Monday evening after receiving a report on the accident at around 6:30 p.m.

"A group of teenagers out riding discovered the rollover accident and called 911," the press release said.

Valdez police found Steward, age 62, pinned under the ATV and was reportedly unresponsive.

"The officer removed the machine and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation," the city said Tuesday mornig. "Fire Department emergency medical technicians provided advanced life support care on scene and transported Ms. Stewart by ambulance to Providence Valdez Medical Center where she was pronounced deceased."

Next of kin have been notified.

The accident and the cause of her death remain under investigation according to Allie Hendrickson, the city's public information officer.

Stewart, who was recently appointed to the city's new commission for economic diversification, is perhaps best known as one of the founding members of WESC, the World Extreme Skiing Championships, that began in Valdez in 1990. It is widely credited with putting Valdez on the map and was a pioneering effort to begin the helicopter skiing industry.

She was an active part of Valdez Gold Rush Days, Valdez United Way and Junior Achievement, the city noted. She also volunteered as a member of the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive Association and many other community service organizations.

She was often seen spearheading food and cash donations to the Valdez Food Bank through United Way and Alyeska, in addition to working hard behind the scenes in the annual Golden Rock Awards, the gardening competition held during Gold Rush Days.

The City of Valdez Public Information Office requests media respect the privacy of Ms. Stewart's family during this difficult time.


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