Raleigh Hero Finds Inspiration in Helping Others
Posted June 20, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Life is full of barriers; the challenge is how you hurdle them. Jack Fritz is an expert.
Fritz is one of five people whose portraits were unveiled this week in a mural on the back wall of Raleigh's City Market. They are all local heroes nominated for their work by people in the community.
Fritz has given his time to the Food Bank of North Carolina, the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games, the Triangle Reading Service, Feed the Firefighters and Habitat for Humanity of Wake County.
It is a large list, but then Fritz has a big heart. Confined to a wheelchair after a diving accident left him partially paralyzed, no obstacle can get in the way of him helping others.
"I hit my head and it caused a partial severing of my spinal cord. It just happened, and I had to move on with my life," he says.
Fritz keeps moving, propelled by the inspiration he sees in others.
"When you see a family move into a house, the sense of pride, it just makes me feel good. I feel like I make a difference," he says.
"When I was with Special Olympics, the thing I heard more often than anything else during the games from the volunteers was that, gee, this is so much better than work. I feel like I'm accomplishing something," he says.
Of the experience with Special Olympics, Fritz says "This is not only fun, but it makes me feel good knowing that I'm making a difference. It's a once in a lifetime experience that I'll never, ever forget. It had a profound impact on me."
Fritz opens his heart to others, and in a world too full of neglect, he rolls through life with care.
"It's a way for me to use my talents and time to make a difference. It just makes me feel good," he says.
Jack Fritz was 20 years old when he had his diving accident. He went on to get his master's and doctorate degrees in adult education and psychology.
He worked at N.C. State University and Dorothea Dix Hospital.
Fritz retired in 1994 and is involved in a variety of causes, working as a volunteer.