Staff Spotlight, David Fry
David Fry, Park Ranger
David Fry will mark his fifth anniversary at Highlands Hammock in July 2022. Although he spent his early childhood in Arkansas and Missouri, he grew up near Palm Springs, California. As an undergraduate in college, he originally studied forestry. David then made the decision to change his major and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Azusa Pacific University. He attended the University of Utah and earned a master's degree in exercise and sports science, i.e., sports psychology.
He began working on a Ph.D. when balancing the role of being a homemaker and caretaker to two daughters while his wife, Dru, was a full-time registered nurse. After again switching gears, he became a firefighter in Salt Lake City! His career with the city spanned 25 years.
David retired in 2015 and moved to Florida so that Dru “could be home, warm up in Sebring and care for her aging parents.” To keep busy, he held a few part-time jobs, including working on the safety team at Sebring International Raceway. He has a keen interest in racing and works annually at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
After looking for a job in the Heartland area with his skills and interests, he applied to be a park ranger at Highlands Hammock State Park when a position opened. Learning about Florida fire ecology and working prescribed burns in contrast to fire suppression and responding to emergency calls while serving in an urban fire department has been a “real eye opener” for him.
When not carrying out routine ranger duties, David is frequently engaged in park safety matters including building inspections, fire extinguisher checks, and AED and safety equipment checks. He instructs park staff in CPR, AED and first aid and has shared some extraordinary tales involving EMS calls from his firefighting days. Additionally, David conducts the ATV, UTV and LSV trainings for all staff and volunteers.
Although David is quiet, unassuming and would rather not be in the spotlight, he was filmed giving an excellent overview of the park as part of a Visit Sebring Tourist Development Council promotion. A dog lover, he and his wife are active in the Sebring Angels, a Florida nonprofit organization whose volunteers work toward saving the lives of animals in local animal control facilities by opening their homes to foster animals and keeping them safe and sound until they can be adopted.