Everson steakhouse holds community fundraiser for Whatcom County deputies shot in the line of duty

A fundraiser dinner was held Wednesday night at Herb Niemann’s Steakhouse in Everson for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies who were shot and injured in the line of duty last week.

Deputies Ryan Rathbun and Jason Thompson were shot in the head last Thursday while responding to a heated argument between neighbors in Maple Falls, according to Bellingham Police.

The two deputies are now at home recovering and have medical appointments and treatments ahead.

For the first time, Sheriff Bill Elfo is speaking out about the shooting. He said this could’ve been much worse and that the community dodged what could’ve been a horrible tragedy.

"Both deputies are recovering. We’re extremely proud of them for the way they handled themselves. We train them to stay in the fight and that’s exactly what they did. They took care of each other. They refused to self-evacuate and waited until they were replaced so the citizens wouldn’t be left vulnerable in the area," said Elfo. "I’m also very proud of the citizens that showed up when they were most vulnerable, the most critical moments of this incident, that provided cover fire for our deputies to get to safety."

Elfo was among the dozens who attended the fundraiser event at Herb Niemann’s Steakhouse. 

The owner, Matt Goering, said they served up their famous meatloaf to over 300 people. Goering said every single cent, tips and donations from two cash jars will go to support the deputies and their families.

"They needed the big hug. I mean these guys put their lives on the line every single day of the week and what they did was tremendous," said Goering. "They got hurt in the line of duty and I think the community really is rallying around them and it’s just nice to see."

The steakhouse said about $15,000 was rasied. 

If you’d like to show your support to the deputies and their families, individual GoFundMe pages have been created on behalf of Deputy Rathbun and Deputy Thompson.

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