TELLURIDE, Colo. (July 28, 2015) – The Telluride Foundation’s Board of Directors held its bi-annual meeting on July 3rd, 2015 where it selected Gary Freedman as the 2015 Outstanding Citizen of the Year. The Telluride Foundation created its Outstanding Citizen award to honor individuals who unselfishly make extraordinary contributions to the region’s quality of life. Freedman was one of eight citizens nominated by local peers for his exemplary service and volunteerism to the community.
Freedman has contributed to the community as a firefighter on the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department, serving as a captain, a HazMat technician, and a specialist in multiple disciplines on the Telluride HazMat Response Team. He has also served as team leader since the HazMat Response Team’s establishment and as Chief Deputy Coroner and MedicoLegal Death Investigator for San Miguel County. The Telluride Fire Protection District Chief John Bennet says, “Gary is the definition of a Volunteer.”
Having recently retired from the corporate world, Gary and Debbie Freedman arrived in Telluride in 2007. Gary shortly became a member of the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department. By way of background, Gary is a native of Philadelphia. Educated at Valley Forge Military Academy, Virginia Military Institute, he received an MBA from Tulane University in 1976. After working at Texas Instruments, where he and Debbie met, he went on to become a CFO of an oil field service company and then information processing firms and then became CEO and Chairman of publically traded and privately held companies in laboratory information and distribution fields. Additionally, in 1984, Gary received his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and worked and contributed as an EMT and dispatcher, including being involved in the response to the Delta Flight 191 crash in 1985. Gary and Debbie never had children, so Gary always insisted on working Christmas and holidays so that others could be with their families. In Telluride, Gary took the fire department by storm, immersing himself into every aspect of training and first accomplishing a Fire Fighter 1 certification. Due to his interest in science, technology and prior experience and training, Gary, as an unpaid volunteer, in response to the actual and anticipated needs of the community became involved with the creation of the Telluride Hazardous Materials Response Team. With fellow firefighters who became certified as HazMat technicians and support from other response organizations, this led to the establishment of a well trained and equipped team to reduce the impact to the area’s citizens, property and environment from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and clandestine lab incidents.
As an Outstanding Citizen, Freedman will receive a commemorative plaque and a grant of $5,000 to be given in his name to the local nonprofit of his choice. Freedman shares this honor with Terry Tice (2003), Lissa Margetts (2004), John Micetic (2005), Bill Carstens (2006), John Pryor and Jane Hickcox (2007), Kathy Green (2008), Marilyn Branch (2009), Dan and Greer Garner and Andrea Benda (2010) and Billy “Senior” Mahoney (2011), Anne Brady (2012), Dean Rolley (2013), and Kristin Holbrook (2014). A celebration to honor Gary will occur Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 from 5-6:30 at Arroyo Wine Bar. Community members are encouraged to attend.
The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the cultivation and promotion of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and/or working in the Telluride region for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.