Award-winning first responder Fritz sad to leave Craig but ready for a change
Within weeks of winning the Craig Press Highways 13 & 40 award for Best First Responder, Ryan Fritz was no longer a first responder.
It didn’t end the way he said he anticipated, but after a dozen years as a police officer in Craig, it was over.
Now, just months later, it’s time for the Fritz family to move on from Craig.
“We’re playing it crazy — sold the house, mother-in-law sold her house, moving truck is coming,” Fritz said. “New town, new city, no job, hotel reservation. It’s kind of how we moved to Colorado, so it might as well be how we move out.”
For Fritz, exiting public service in a small town as suddenly as he did was rough.
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“This is one of the best communities we’ve ever lived in, and I’ve lived in a lot,” Fritz said before ticking off everywhere he’s lived in his life on his fingers. “Fifteen. Fifteen different places. Jacksonville will be 16, and we decided maybe the ocean’s calling louder than the mountains and it’s time to go.”
Florida will be next — a chance for the Fritz family to reset and re-evaluate after a painful and abrupt change.
“We loved our time here,” Fritz said. “We’ve been happy for the most part. There have been some struggles, a small town being what it is, but we love the community. My wife’s really sad to leave her job (at Sunset Elementary), that’s a family there. But we figured it’s time, even though we love this community and loved being here. It’s just really hard to go from such public positions in the community to outside those positions.”
Fritz spent many years as a school resource officer, a position about which he was particularly passionate.
“I really miss working with the kids in the schools,” he said. “I’m even starting, almost two-and-a-half months later, to miss law enforcement.”
A member of the Journey Church during his time in Craig, Fritz trusts he’s in good hands.
“God’s plans are always going to trump ours,” he said. “No matter what we decide, God will make sure it happens how He wants it to happen. This has sucked and been painful but it’s also good. It will continue to be good for my family.”
Fritz thanked the community for its support of first responders and law enforcement, as well as of his family specifically.
“I hope they remember that I cared,” Fritz said. “I loved what I did, the job I did, and I put a lot of effort into people’s kids. Energy and emotion, building relationships with students, I was trying to make things better.”
He knows leaving will be hard, but it’s time.
“It’s nice when you go somewhere and everywhere you go you know somebody,” Fritz said. “And even if you don’t know them, they’re not strangers. I think that wraps up Craig pretty well.”
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