Fallen Marine Captain Matthew Freeman, the former Richmond Hill High School honor student who died in the line of duty Aug. 7, was honored by the local Boys Scouts last week. The Liberty District Boys Scouts of America, which covers South Bryan, presented Freeman’s family with their annual "Good Scout Award" on Feb. 18 at the Wetlands Center.
Freeman was a member of Richmond Hill-based Troop 527, where he achieved Eagle Scout status in 1998. His father, Gary Freeman, said Capt. Freeman was proud of his history with the Boy Scouts.
"He loved being in the Scouts," Freeman said. "He was always bragging about his Eagle Scout status. He researched about others who reached that status, and whenever he’d see somebody on TV, like a Senator or Congressman or astronaut or General, he’d say ‘he’s an Eagle Scout.’ It was one of his proudest achievements."
Capt. Freeman’s mother, Lisa Freeman, said he learned many of his leadership skills and confidence through Scouting, which he applied to high school, the Naval Academy and the armed forces.
Capt. Freeman’s Eagle Scout project was the gazebo in J.F. Gregory Park, which he restored and installed a new floor on in 1997.
"Matt took the Scout oath and Scout law to heart," said his former Scout Master Denny O’Neil. "You could depend on Matt; he was trustworthy. Matt was true to his friends, his family, his Scout leaders, his school and his nation."
Max Coles, Scout Master of Troop 46 in Richmond Hill agreed.
"In studying his life, we’ve seen what a truly dynamic young man he was and how he personified all qualities of the Scout law."
In September, Richmond Hill Boy Scout Troop 400 decided to pick up where Freeman left off in a mission to deliver school supplies to needy children in Afghanistan. Lisa Freeman said this program, entitled "The Matthew Freeman Project," may be on the verge of becoming an international project to keep education moving forward wherever American boots hit the ground.
"It’s Scouting that makes these kinds of men who will go into battle and will battle for us in everyday lives, not just on the battlefield," Lisa Freeman said. "I appreciate all that Scouting did for Matthew."