After Jayme Closs' case, Barron County sheriff honored with the 'Hero of a Lifetime' award

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Acts of courage and selflessness by local community members were honored Wednesday morning during the annual Heroes Breakfast hosted by the American Red Cross.

The event took place at the Florian Gardens in Eau Claire.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald was awarded the Hero of a Lifetime award.

Fitzgerald said, “You can't do it without a team and I just have the best law enforcement team and the best community around that keeps supporting our efforts and the efforts of everything we do from the Closs investigation to the tornado, to events like national night out our community stands behind law enforcement and that's all a sheriff can ask for is a community behind you.”

Fitzgerald says he never gave up on the investigation into finding 13-year-old Jayme Closs and celebrated when she came home safely.

Fitzgerald added, “We all know how good we felt when Jayme came home. I want to bottle that feeling up. I want to take that feeling and use it every day. That's now my new mission is to take that feeling
and use it every single day and spread it around Barron County, Northwest Wisconsin and where ever we can.”

Among those honored was Barron county native Chris Kroeze who won the Community Hero award.

Kroeze raised awareness about the disappearance of Jayme on a national level while also supporting the Barron community.

Kroeze said, “It's cool. It can be a little overwhelming because anyone that does anyone to help someone it's not for that reason. To get it is very, very cool but it's also overwhelming at times but I appreciate it.”