Search and Rescue Team Member Killed on Mount Baldy Remembered at Celebration of Life

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Colleagues and loved ones said their final farewells Saturday to a search and rescue team member and beloved high school teacher who died during a search for a missing hiker on Mount Baldy two weeks ago.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Search & Rescue Team volunteer Tim Staples, pictured in an undated photo provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Search & Rescue Team volunteer Tim Staples, pictured in an undated photo provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Tim Staples, 32, was killed Dec. 14 after falling down an ice chute while on a rescue operation with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department West Valley Search & Rescue Team. The search for the hiker, 52-year-old Sreenivas "Sree" Mokkapati, 52, of Irvine, has since been suspended.

Staples was newly married and an English and science teacher at Damien High School in La Verne. He has volunteered with the West Valley Search & Rescue Team for nine years.

"Tim personified what it means to be a search and rescue professional," West Valley Search & Rescue Team Commander Tom Henderson said during the ceremony in Rancho Cucamonga. "A dedicated and loyal teammate willing and able to answer the call or help at any hour and in any conditions. He will forever be missed by his West Valley Search & Rescue Family."

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