Deputy Sheriff Dean Raifsnider lost his long battle with cancer on February 25, 2014. His presence, dedication, and smiling face will surely be missed. Dean began working in the Sheriff’s Office on May 27, 2009, and all his colleagues would agree that no one loved being a deputy more than Dean – he was so proud to wear the uniform and would arrive for his shift every day eager to fulfill his duties. Always wanting to work in law enforcement, Dean would say the Sheriff’s Office was a place he could call home.
Dean was truly committed to public service and had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and self-improvement. As one colleague recalls, “Dean had a strong desire to do a good job and was serious about wanting to learn.” This fellow deputy then talked about how Dean would spend his free time in the office just to learn all that he could.
Dean had the same high level of commitment when it came to looking out for the interests and the needs of others, especially his two young nephews. For these boys, Dean was a surrogate dad and, from his bed in the hospital, worried about who would help them build their pinewood cars for the upcoming Boy Scout Pinewood Derby race. His commitment to these boys may have only been surpassed by his commitment to his wife, Richelle (Shelly), to whom he would have been married 19 years this coming May.
Dean was diagnosed with Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia (cancer of the blood and bone marrow) in November, 2011. He approached the fight of his life with the same dogged determination to learn all he could and do all he could to beat this disease. He began treatment at the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore and returned to work in June 2012. When the cancer returned a year later, Dean was optimistic that he would win the fight following a bone marrow transplant. Dean never gave up and never gave in, even after learning that the bone marrow transplant didn’t work.
It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to someone we are thankful to have known. Dean was a shining example and a proud representation of the Berks County Sheriff’s Office. We are thankful Dean chose the Sheriff’s Office as his place to call home.