Foundation names Ritschards Citizens of the Year
Special to the Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, CO Colorado
Mike and Susan Ritschard of Kremmling were recently selected as the 2010 Citizens of the Year by the West Grand Community Educational Foundation.
The Ritschards, who own and operate a ranch in the Troublesome Creek Valley, will be honored at a banquet that is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 17, at West Grand High School.
Community involvement is something that comes naturally to Mike and Susan. In fact, service to others appears to a part of the daily routine for the Ritschards. Mike comes from a family that helped shape and form western Grand County over the past100 years. Susan, who grew up in Littleton, Colorado is certainly no slouch in the involvement department as she has created her own legacy, primarily in the field of education.
Mike’s great-grandfather Adolph moved to Grand County and established the family ranch east of Kremmling. Adolph’s son, Con, further developed the family ranch and earned his community involvement stripes on the Grand County Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Kremmling Memorial Hospital District board of directors.
Mike’s father Gene served on the West Grand School board of directors for 16 years and was involved for many years on the board of directors of the Colorado River Water Conservation District. If you have ever visited the spillway area of Wolford Mountain Reservoir, you will notice a plaque that indicates the structure that holds back the water of Muddy Creek to form Wolford Mountain Reservoir is called Ritschard Dam. That structure is named in honor of Mike’s parents, Gene and Mimi Ritschard.
Mike’ mom Gladys was also involved in the community in school, community and political organizations. For many years, she was a key organizer of the Kremmling Days activities.
Mike picked up the torch from his parents and grandparents family and has been involved with the State Lands Enhancement Committee and the Division of Wildlife Habitat Partnership Program. He served the Grand County Republican party as committee chairman for six years and vice chair for two years. He was the treasurer for the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo board and currently serves on the Middle Park 4-H Livestock Sale committee.
The Kremmling native served two four-year terms on the West Grand School board of directors, the final two as that board’s president. Currently he is member of the Grand County Planning and Zoning Commission. He has also been an assistant boy’s basketball coach at West Grand High School for the past three years.
When asked what has sparked his desire to serve in so many capacities, Mike said: “We just grew up that way. It was the idea that you got involved to be part of the community, whether that was in a leadership role or just helping out.”
Susan’s parents were also people who got involved in their community. Her father Dan Goodyear was on the Colorado Tourism Board and her mom Sandy has been involved in numerous charities and organizations.
It was that sense of involvement that led to Mike and Susan meeting during their time as students at Colorado State University. Mike was a member of the student senate at CSU and Susan was an alternate to that organization.
When they got married, they moved to the family ranch in Kremmling and Susan’s first involvement was as a member of the Sage Hens, a group that was associated with Colorado Extension Services.
Susan has served as the president of the Kremmling Preschool board of directors during the time when it moved from its location in downtown Kremmling to a site on the grounds of the West Grand Elementary School. She also served on the West Grand Elementary School Improvement Committee as well as the West Grand Middle School Colts Action Team.
Currently, Susan is a member of the Kremmling Recreation Team and she was elected last November to serve on the West Grand School board of directors.
In response to the question about involvement, Susan said: “You have to make an effort I get involved because this is a community where you can make a difference. Plus, I find it to be rewarding and fun.”
Some people serve in volunteer capacities out of a sense of duty. Those people often talk of “putting in their time” and they count the days until their terms expire. It is obvious with the Ritschards that their involvement is an integral part of who they are as people and as citizens of a community. They know that certain jobs in a community need to be done and they step up to the plate in numerous ways to fulfill the responsibilities of those positions. Their service is selfless and is done without thought of compensation.
Mike and Susan have three children. Tim is a junior at West Grand High School while Nick is an eighth-grader and Sydney is a fourth-grader in the PK-8 school in Kremmling. All three are heavily involved in school activities.
In addition to their volunteer work and family life, Mike and Susan, operate a beef cattle and hay ranch in the Troublesome Creek valley. Susan works for the Grand County court system as a collections investigator, a job she has held for 15 years.
Even though they have a list of “things to do” a mile long, the Ritschards remain cheerful and optimistic people. They truly inherited a mentality to “roll up your shirtsleeves” to get work done and they pass that along to their coworkers, friends and family.
Mike and Susan love living in the Kremmling area and are working hard to see their community thrive. As Susan notes, “This is a great place to raise your kids.”
The banquet honoring the Ritschards will feature mesquite barbecue rib-eye steak, baked potatoes and all of the trimmings. The entertainment this year is Sven Jorgensen who has been performing as a juggler and circus artist for over 20 years.
Tickets are on sale now for $30 per person, which includes dinner, dessert and the show. Call Linda Haynes at 724-1006 to order tickets.
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