It was standing room only as friends and family turned out in support of North Bend’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. Mayor Ken Hearing and City Councilmembers honored Fritz Ribary as the recipient of the city’s prestigious honor at the February 20, 2018 Council Meeting.
The Citizen of the Year is awarded to an individual or business that has gone above and beyond to make North Bend a better place to live, through professional or volunteer efforts, or by an extraordinary contribution to the community.
“I feel very fortunate to personally know this year’s recipient and have the pleasure of interacting with him on a regular basis through various events in which we are involved,” said Mayor Ken Hearing. “His career is impressive and when you think of people who have shaped our community for the better, he easily surpasses many others.”
Ribary was selected not only for his community involvement in 2017, but for ongoing and exceptional work within the community that spans many years.
He was born at Snoqualmie Falls Hospital and was raised on his family’s 260-acre North Bend Dairy Farm. His first job off the farm was washing dishes at the Little Chalet, now the North Bend Bar & Grill.
Ribary attended Mount Si High School and served as ASB President. After graduating, he attended Central Washington University where he became Chairman of the Dances and a “Yell Leader.” He also attended University of Washington and received BA in Marketing. He is a Vietnam Veteran and has served as an Army Reserve for more than 30 years.
His other accomplishments include serving as a North Bend Firefighter and EMT Volunteer, North Bend Planning Commissioner, North Bend City Councilmember and Mayor of North Bend. He also served two separate terms as Commissioner for Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, Chairman of Snoqualmie Valley Youth HUB and was President of Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce.
His career is also impressive. He has sold tires and insurance, washed dishes, driven a truck, managed a bank, been a personal trainer and worked as a logger. His most recent positions include Executive Director of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce and Marketing and Communications Manager for Snoqualmie Valley Hospital. Even though Ribary retired in 2014, he currently delivers pizza for Frankie’s Pizza in North Bend, which he said with a laugh that he does “for fun, to meet people and to get out of his wife’s hair.”
He is an avid hiker, enjoys helping his son and his daughter-in-law at Pearl and Stone Winery and is involved in many other community events and organizations.
“I want to say thank you. I’m deeply honored, grateful and thankful,” Ribary said in an emotional speech. “You know how much I love this community. I love my family, whether it’s by blood or by adoption. It’s been great to be a part of this community. I’m speechless and I really appreciate this honor. It means a lot to me and to my family.”
Mayor Hearing concluded the presentation by stating “Congratulations Fritz. This award is well-deserved. You’ve made such an impact and given back so much.”