Jackson County reserve officer dies from COVID-19

A reserve officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department died Tuesday night from complications related to COVID-19.

The death of Rick Hirtzel, 55, of Seymour at an Indianapolis hospital came after an illness that lasted several weeks, said Lt. Adam Nicholson of the sheriff’s department.

On Facebook, Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer said, “The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department mourns the loss of Reserve Deputy Rick Hirtzel. Deputy Hirtzel gave the citizens of Jackson County over 30 years of service. You could always see Deputy Hirtzel providing security at the Brownstown Speedway, Fort Vallonia Days and the Tampico tractor pulls. He also took many road calls and was a big help to our full-time deputies. We will miss you, and we thank you for your service.”

County Officer Dustin Steward said on Facebook that Hirtzel, who was with the department for 32 years, was a very good friend of his and to many at the sheriff’s department for many years.

“Rick was a good officer and will truly be missed by so many,” Steward said. “My last text with Rick was for him to get better and worry about him and his family first and coming back to us at the department last, and he said, ‘Don’t give up on me.’ He knew that would never happen. We would have waited forever and never given up.”

Early Wednesday morning, his body was escorted by Meyer, Steward and other county officers from the hospital to a funeral home by Jackson County officers. Funeral arrangements are pending.