Looking back at cancer fight as vice principal retires - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Looking back at cancer fight as vice principal retires

David Ritter and his pager David Ritter and his pager
David Ritter (Source: KCBD Video) David Ritter (Source: KCBD Video)
David Ritter retired on Thursday David Ritter retired on Thursday

Now we're going to take a look back nearly 15 years ago, when hundreds of students at Irons Junior High came to school early just to line the parking lot and the halls of the school to welcome back their vice principal, David Ritter.

He had been out fighting bone cancer and it was tough.

First the chemo didn't work. Then he had a bone marrow transplant that didn't work. So, he had a second bone marrow transplant. Doctors tried all that they could, but Ritter believes his most powerful medicine came from a little device clipped to his waist.

It was a pager. And that pager that buzzed at least 30 times a day. Every buzz meant someone, somewhere was praying for him.

Ritter received pages from people he didn't know and places he'd never been, as far away as Seattle and Vienna, Austria, But it wasn't just the power of the pager. Ritter received well wishes from hundreds of kids who dubbed themselves - Ritter's Critters - kids who are now 15 years older.

But many returned to Irons on Thursday for a special reception to say goodbye to Mr. Ritter, who is retiring after 43 years of service at LISD and 25 years as Vice Principal at Irons.

Even today, Ritter became emotional recalling that moment 15 years ago, when he returned to Irons after surviving a grim diagnosis.

With tears in his eyes, he said, "When I came up to the school, the kids were on the front porch lined up from my car to the front door. This is my family."

How ironic that the Vice Principal is the disciplinarian of the school, but for two generations of Ritter's Critters, he has been a favorite who has shown the kids by example that you can do anything, even beat cancer, with faith and friends.

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