Vera Freeman was the recipient of the Hearts of Gold Award, sponsored by the Tahlequah Hospital Auxiliary. Freeman grew up in Tahlequah where she and her five siblings lived with her paternal grandparents after her mother passed away when Freeman was only five years old.
Freeman attended Sequoyah Elementary and Bagley High School in Tahlequah until her Sophomore year and then graduated from Chilocco Indian School in 1953. She began her college education at Northeastern State University and then graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree as a reading specialist from Emporia State University in Kansas.
She married Reverend Patrick Freeman, a pastor with the United Methodist Church; and together, they raised three children, Courtney, Eric and Patrick Junior.
Their ministry took them to several communities. It was in Lebo, Kansas, where Freeman began her first elementary teaching job before later teaching in Baldwin City, Kansas City, and for the Cherokee Reservation in
North Carolina where she retired in 1997.
Over the 60 years that she and her husband were married, their family often returned home to Tahlequah where Freeman was pleased to note the changes and growth, both with the hospital and the city itself.
Throughout her church ministries, Freeman would visit many hospitals, noticing the volunteers, thinking she might enjoy this service once she retired. Northeastern Health System is her third hospital in which to volunteer, and she believes saving the one in her hometown for last has been the best. She appreciates how the hospital continues to grow and the services provided to the community. She feels the hospital appreciates the work of the volunteers, and it shows in the way the hospital treats the volunteers.
Freeman enjoys getting to know people through her volunteer service and believes there is always something to learn from others.
As far as plans for the future; at 82 years old, Freeman would like to continue volunteering, enjoying her children, grandchildren and great children, as well as her church.