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Teamwork is dreamwork for NAMI El Dorado County

Jeanne Nelson, Fred Hjerpe, and Zach Schleien – Honoring Louis Hjerpe – this trio passionate about helping other families.   Honored to finally meet and connect in person in South Lake Tahoe 24-Aug-2018.

Zach Schleien, of New Jersey’s Johnson & Johnson lost his best friend Louis last year to untreated mental illness.   Louis’ illness prevented him from understanding he needed treatment.  He took a walk and never returned.   His body was found weeks later.   This tragedy struck his childhood friend Zach to the core.  He set out to do something about it in honor of Louis.   He raised funds for NAMI New Jersey and NAMI El Dorado County.   He developed a widely acclaimed website known as and collaborated with Louis’ father to get Louis Hjerpe’s story widely shared.    The SF Chronicle article touched the hearts of many across the nation.

President of NAMI El Dorado County, Jeanne Nelson said “It has been such an honor to get to know Louis’ parents, Fred and Mariel Hjerpe of El Dorado County, and Zach Schleien in person.    Together with the help of over 120 community donations we raised over $32,000 to develop more NAMI Family-to-Family instructors locally and help approximately 600 families gain education and support.”

Louis’ Mom, Mariel honors her son by wearing his favorite high school sweatshirt.

Mental Illness took their son so now they help others with education and support.  Read full SF Chronicle article here.

Fred and Mariel reside in Placerville, CA.  Zach Schleien resides in New Jersey.  Meeting together for the first time in South Lake Tahoe, CA on such a beautiful morning was a very special treat.

NAMI El Dorado County is offering NAMI Family-to-Family training in South Lake Tahoe starting next month.  They have a handful of new instructors getting certified to teach starting next month (in Placerville) and will be offering more instructor certification training in South Lake Tahoe in July, 2019.  All this is happening directly because of the work done by Zach Schleien to direct a CaringCrowd fundraiser with the support of Fred Hjerpe and Jeanne Nelson and the community.

NAMI El Dorado County is proud to be 100% volunteer.



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