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Fletcher considered dedicated police officer and firefighter

February 20, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

RANSON, W.VA. - A Jefferson County Sheriff's Department officer who was shot Monday while on duty makes friends easily and loves his job, acquaintances said.

"I'll tell you, Ronald Fletcher is one in a million. You will never find another person like that," said Alicia Kidwell, who serves alongside Fletcher as a volunteer firefighter at Citizens Fire Co. in Charles Town, W.Va.

Fletcher was shot three times while responding to a report of breaking and entering at a residence in Ranson, W.Va., police said. He was in chritical condition late Monday, a spokeswoman at Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center said.

Fletcher loved being a police officer, said Caitlyn Pratt, who volunteers at the fire hall.

"I think he is a positive influence on a lot of people, tries to make things better when things seem bad, and I think he enjoys that," Pratt said.

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Since joining the Sheriff's Department in 2001, Fletcher has worked as an accident reconstructionist, a prevention resource officer at Jefferson High School and as a supervisor.

He is popular at the fire station, where he was the most recent Firefighter of the Year, Chief Steve Anderson said."He's always cutting up with (people), having a good time, very likeable person," Anderson said.

He often directed traffic at the scenes of fires as a fire police officer, and he was the company's secretary. He called bingo games every Tuesday night, Anderson said.

Out of 720 fire calls dispatched last year, Fletcher responded to 435, Anderson said.

"So you name it, he does it," Anderson said.

The fire company's annual Pancake Day is today, and while at least one of Fletcher's friends said she planned to work as scheduled at the fundraiser, Kidwell said she will be on the road to Washington.

She plans to see Fletcher in the hospital "as soon as possible."

Fletcher "lured" her into being a firefighter, she said.

"Everybody just clings to Fletcher," Kidwell said.

Chris Cross, 24, who grew up with Fletcher, said his friend earned people's respect.

"Just all-around great guy, that's the easiest way to describe him," Cross said.

Even when Cross and Fletcher were boys, Darlene Cross, Chris's mother, said Fletcher knew what he wanted to do.

"They talked all their life about being a police officer," she said.

Pratt confessed that she has teased Fletcher that he lives at the fire company, but she said she believes his love for his job will push him back to work as a police officer.

"Most definitely, he'll jump in with both two feet," Pratt said.

Fletcher only has one fear - spiders - and he does not mind making a joke of himself to entertain others, Pratt said.

Talking about Fletcher made some of his friends laugh.

"Ronald is crazy, he's awesome. He's probably the most awesome person I've ever met. He could get you to laugh on a cue," Pratt said.

Pratt said Cross and Fletcher have inspired her to become a firefighter, too. She is planning to begin classes soon.

"I'm scared to death, but hey, if I've got them watching over me, I'll be good," she said.

Staff writer Erin Julius contributed to this story.

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