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Schlief Benefit draws a crowd

The Hancock Commercial Club sponsored a benefit on May 5 for the Schlief Family who had four children injured in a March crash involving a Hancock School van and a semi truck. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times1 / 3
Connor Duncan, a volunteer with the Hodges 4-H club cleans a table at the May 5 benefit for the Schlief Family at the Hancock School. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times2 / 3
Eden Nohl, left, and Marianna Dominquez Havluck feed a horse in the petting zoo that was part of the Schlief Family benefit on May 5 at Hancock School. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times3 / 3

The May 5 benefit for the Schlief family drew about 800 people, Hancock Commercial Club President Justin Cronen said.

Those who attended the benefit donated to the family but donations also arrived before the event, Cronen said. The amount raised for the Schlief Family was not disclosed by the commercial club at the request of the family.

The benefit was sponsored by the Hancock Commercial Club with the help of multiple volunteers and organizations. Four Schlief children and three other children, all students at Hancock Public School were injured in a March 12 school van and semi-truck crash near Holloway. Natasha, Savannah, Blade and Harliegh Schlief of Danvers were injured in the crash. Savannah, 14, is still hospitalized at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, according to a May 2 post on the Harliegh and Savannah Schlief CaringBridge site. Posts from March on the Caring Bridge site also stated that Harliegh, 16, was hospitalized for several days after the crash. The others injured in the crash were Gaige Sanderson, 16, Braydn Sanderson, 15, and Korah Schroeder, 10, of Holloway and van driver Judy Van Eps, 68, of Hancock.

Commercial club representatives discussed the benefit with the other families of the those injured in the crash and those families said they wanted the May 5 event to benefit the Schlief Family.

The May 5 event included a meal, silent auction, home-baked goods sale, raffle, petting zoo and kids' games at the Hancock Public School. Cronen said about 800 people were at the benefit and donations were made by others who could not attend.

Brennen Koehl, 10, knew exactly where there were so many people at the gym. "(The Schliefs) were in an accident and they need the money and support," he said.

Koehl was eating the meal at a table in the gym. He was surrounded by other diners at tables and the rows of silent auction items on the bleachers on each side of the long end of the gym.

"A lot of people care for the family and want to help," Koehl said of why so many people attended, helped and donated items for the auction and raffle.

"A lot of people donated stuff," Riley Miller, 11, said. He figured that at least a few hundred people would attend the event.

"It's unreal," Dolores Crow of Morris said about the amount of items on the silent auction and raffle. Crow and her friend Mary Ann Reimers were at the event at about the 4:30 p.m. start time.

"There already a lot of people here then," Crow said.

"They just did a great job," Reimers said of the organizers and volunteers.