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Girl Scout pitches in to help injured El Dorado County teen

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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A 14-year-old El Dorado Hills girl has made it her mission to help a local teen seriously injured in a tragic accident.

Mallory Marshall is working on her Girl Scout silver award and has chosen to raise much-needed funds for Zachary Pickett and his family.

Pickett was a lifeguard at Cameron Park Lake when he dove into the lake earlier this year and struck a hidden sandbar, crushing his seventh vertebrae causing serious, and possibly permanent damage, to his spinal cord.

He is now a senior at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs and is currently confined to a wheelchair.

Marshall said she chose to use her 60-hour Girl Scout project helping Pickett and his family.

“We found him through my church,” she said. “At the time they were holding a fundraiser for him and we decided he’d be the right fit for the project and the Sparrow Clubs.

Sparrow Clubs is a non-profit organization based in Oregon that provides financial and emotional support for critically ill children and their families.

Marshall chose the youth-based organization for the bases of her project and fundraiser.

Her mother, Ramona, said Mallory learned of the Sparrow Club through a television show.

“We were watching ‘Extreme Home Edition,’ and there were people from the Sparrow Club and decided that is was the right fit.”

Mallory contacted the organization to learn what she needed to do and how she could nominate Pickett.

Several months and linear feet of red tape later the fundraising had begun.

“Mallory had to get donations of $4,060 to even start this club here,” Ramona Marshall said. “Of those funds, $1,500 goes to the Sparrow organization and the other $2,560 goes to the family.”

Any additional funds raised in the coming months will go directly to the Picketts.

Mallory’s school, Golden Hills Elementary in El Dorado Hills, is actually the “adopting” agency. The school children “earn” the donated funds through community service.

Mallory’s job is to continue to manage the donation program and to ensure that those committed to their community service see it through to fruition, her mother said.

“It may be stressful at times but it’s nice to know that the work you are putting in will help Zach and his family,” Mallory Marshall said. “It teaches the community that no matter how young you are you can still make a difference.”

Judy Pickett said the generosity is unbelievable.

“It’s just amazing,” she said. “I think that it’s incredible that Mallory took it upon herself to help our family. We don’t even know them at all. This is just great.”

Reach Penne Usher at penne.usher@gmail.com.