Ritchie, a Stanislaus County native, was diagnosed with a hearing impairment of unknown origin at age 3. His aggressively progressive hearing loss required him to eventually attend special education classes for the hearing impaired from elementary school through high school. His primary mode of communication is sign language and he is an excellent lip-reader. He worked at the Hershey's Chocolate plant in Oakdale for over 20 years until it closed in 2008. He currently works part-time in security enforcement and is a full-time student in his final semester at Modesto Junior College as a Nursing major where he utilizes the academic assistive technology offered by the college to deaf students. Ritchie will pursue his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.