Men and women of law enforcement and fire departments undoubtedly dedicated their time and experience, risking their own lives for those of the public and for the betterment of their communities.
And last Friday, Feb. 8, local officers and firefighters from surrounding departments were recognized for their courageous acts over the years, in the Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards ceremony, which was renamed last year to honor the late developer. The presentation, sponsored by Carl M. Freeman Companies, was held at the Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View.
“These people have done a great job to make our lives a lot more safe and a lot more livable,” said keynote speaker Tom Halverstadt, senior vice president of Carl M. Freeman Companies, and General Manager of its Community Development & Homebuilding and Sports & Hospitality business segments.
Halverstadt described the commemoration of Joshua Freeman with the honoring heroic acts of courageousness from members of the community as “very much appropriate.”
Halverstadt led into the ceremony with a heartfelt look back at a man who did all he could for the community.
“[Joshua M. Freeman] was a man we all respected and followed in his quest to make this a better world,” he said, “a man who would do anything for others and often did.”
He continued, capturing the essence of valor, a term with a definition as powerful as it sounds.
“Valor,” Halverstadt said, “is the moral strength required to perform one’s duty, honestly. Very few will have the opportunity to display a disregard to their personal safety under hazardous conditions. Valor is the concept that bridges truth and duty. It is the moral courage to live honestly and to do one’s duty no matter what the circumstances.”
The following officers and firefighters were recognized at the 2008 Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards:
• Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company: Firefighter Robert “Bob” Minutoli, sponsored by Fire Chief Tom Moore;
• Millville Volunteer Fire Company: Firefighter Harry Warburton, sponsored by Fire Chief Doug Scott;
• Roxana Volunteer Fire Company: Firefighter Josh Hudson, sponsored by Assistant Chief Guy Hudson;
• Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company: Firefighter Howard Pepper Jr., sponsored by Fire Chief Bob Eckman;
• Bethany Beach Police Department: Officer Patrick L. Foley, sponsored by Police Chief Michael Redmon;
• Fenwick Island Police Department: Patrolman 1st Class Stephen Majewski, sponsored by Police Chief William Boyden;
• Ocean View Police Department: Patrolman 1st Class Justin Norman, sponsored by Sgt. Heath Hall.
“It’s totally unnecessary but certainly appreciated,” said Minutoli, who was recognized for his instrumental work, developing Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company’s expansion into Fenwick Island, accommodating a larger emergency area.
“When you attempt to evaluate a recognition like this, you have to think about who nominated you and who’s earned this before. It’s truly an honor to be noticed among these great people.”
“I feel very honored,” said Halverstadt, in closing. “I’ve had this opportunity several times to help present these awards and it’s truly amazing to be up here with these brave individuals. It really speaks for our community.”