Hundreds flooded the Bear River Community Center's Tish Non Room in Loleta to join in the fight with Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Rich Schlesiger and his family. Schlesiger was diagnosed recently with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Moonlight Catering reported serving 800 plates of food and it was standing room only. A live auction raised $30,000 for the Fight Fund with additional funds being raised by event ticket sales, Dutch auction, and silent auction.
Family spoke expressing their deep and sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support. Community members, government officials, co-workers, friends, and family showed unending unity for a family stuck by unthinkable news.
"I am so in shock and overwhelmed by this event," Schlesiger said. "I cannot even begin to wrap my brain around it. I am so thankful." Those that know Schlesiger can appreciate his play on words as his sense of humor and love for life has always shined through.
Schlesiger grew up in Humboldt County and is well known in the community. His wife Morgan and three children -- Chaz, 11; Cade, 4; and Callee, 3 -- have been by his side showing support and love for their hero.
It was mid-January when Schlesiger started experiencing headaches that would not pass. After some medical exams the tumor was discovered in his brain and an "awake" brain surgery was performed. Rich has continued follow up treatment and continues to fight with dignity, strength, and determination.
Law enforcement has been Schlesiger's life for over 22 years. He began his career as a deputy sheriff in Siskiyou County before returning home in 1995 to work for the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office where he remains. Rich is currently assigned to the Eel River Valley, stationed out of the Bear River Rancheria.
Rich has been described by his coworkers as inspiring, diligent, intelligent, passionate, dedicated, genuine, encouraging, professional, and positive.
"What a night!" Morgan Schlesiger said. "We are completely blown away by this evening's fundraiser. The turnout of old friends and new along with family and co-workers was beyond amazing. We are so lucky to live in such a generous community and to have such great friends and family that support us along this journey. Thank you so much to everyone who worked so hard on this event and to everyone who came out in support. It means more to us and our family than we could ever describe with words. We are so proud of the place we call home, and we will continue to be humbly grateful for each and every one of you! Love you all and thank you, thank you, thank you!"
If you would like to help support the Schlesiger Fight Club you can make donations to HDSO, P.O. Box 1352, Eureka CA 95502 to Schlesiger Family Fund.
Photos by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon
1. Hundreds came out to support Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Rich Schlesiger at a recent fundraiser. The event hosted refreshments and auctions to help raise funds for the family.
2. Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Rich Schlesiger held strong at the event which was swarmed with family, friends, co-workers, and community members. Schlesiger was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.