The memories of late August 2012 haunt Mark Bretz.
That day he was an ordinary man dropping a steer off to butcher in Adamsville and on the way home he became what many call a hero. Bretz found 29-year-old Celeste Fronsman burned and beaten in the roadway.
"I’m not a hero the guys who do this every day are heroes," said Mark Bretz. "I’m just a farmer and a fisherman and hunter and worker. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and God put me there to be a messenger for Celeste."
Bretz has kept relatively quiet about his experience on State Route 208. After finding Fronsman, he called for help and was able to obtain information that led to the arrest and conviction on those involved. This week all three of those involved in Fronsman’s murder faced sentencing.
"There’s some closure, but I live with this every day and it’s been tough. It’s been 416 days and I go to sleep thinking of it and wake up thinking of it," said Bretz. "This is part of the healing process. I will never heal completely but this is just part of it."
To honor Fronsman Bretz placed a cross on State Route 208. He said it’s to remind those passing that she was more than a prostitute, she was someone’s daughter.
Bretz has never met Fronsman’s family, but has a message for them.
"I want them to know that they had a wonderful daughter and she had the strength to put these three criminals in jail," said Bretz.
Friday, Bretz received the 2013 Muskingum County Hero Award at the American Red Cross Muskingum Valley Chapter’s Hometown Heroes Breakfast. He was greeted with a standing ovation.