Honoring Commissioner Tom Freeman for His Service to Our Nation, the State of California, and Riverside Countyby Representative Raul Ruiz
Posted on 2015-01-21
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Mr. RUIZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Commissioner Tom Freeman
as he's retiring after 35 years in service to our nation, state, and
the County of Riverside, California. While serving the County of
Riverside Tom has served as the Commissioner of Foreign Trade,
Commissioner of Defense and Military Services, Commissioner of the
Office of Film and Television, Chief of Staff, Board of Supervisors,
4th district, Executive Officer for the Sheriff's Department, Chief
Public Information Officer and Emergency Services Coordinator for the
CDF-County Fire, and first Chairman of the Workforce Development Board.
His extraordinary service with the County of Riverside in key posts has
been of great benefit to the county and its 2.3 million residents.
Tom began serving his nation in the United States Air Force in 1979, enlisting during the Iranian Hostage Crisis and later served in the Inaugural Honor Guard of President Ronald Reagan, The Homecoming Honor Guard for the Iranian Hostages, and the Funeral and Repose of General of the Army Omar Bradley. In 1981, Tom was selected for Marine Corps and Naval Parachutist Training, which he completed, earning the prestigious Paratrooper Badge. He went on to complete Instructor School and receive his Air Training Command Instructor Badge. He then served the House and Senate, teaching selected members of the Armed Services Committee escape, evasion, survival, and parachute training at nearby Andrews Air Force Base. Later in 1984, then Staff Sargent-Select Freeman, was honored by the U.S. Senate, having his enlistment oath administered by the late Senator Quentin S. Burdick on in the Senate Chamber, thus becoming the first member of the active duty armed forces to have his enlistment oath administered on the Senate Floor by a seated member of the Senate of the United States.
Tom returned to his native California with assignment to the Undergraduate Navigator Instructor School, United States Air Force, Mather Air Force Base and served as the Non Commissioned Officer In Charge of Training for future Air Force Navigators. He excelled in this assignment and was named Non Commissioned Officer of the Year. Later he was honorably discharged and joined the Military Department, State of California and was called to Active Duty again thru 1990. While serving on active duty with the State of California he was again named Non Commissioned Officer of the Year, this time for the entire state, and he was also honored as Non Commissioned Officer of the Year by the Air Force Association and the Air Force Sargent's Association. He was also honored by the National Guard Bureau, here in Washington, D.C., two years in a row with the Rookie Recruiter of the Year Award and Recruiter of the Year Award the following year. During this same period of time Tom received a Commendation Medal for rendering lifesaving first aid to an injured motorist. Other awards received include four more commendation medals, an achievement medal, meritorious service medal, and the Air Force Recognition Ribbon, amongst many others.
On January 10, 1990 Tom began his service with the County of Riverside-CDF, Office of Emergency Services. Over his almost 5 years in this post he responded to major quakes, floods, and fires earning three awards from the Governor of California for his service and Emergency Manager of the Year honors from the City of Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, and Palm Desert. Later he was promoted to the post of Legislative, Information, and Marketing Officer at the Economic Development Agency. After 6 years as Vice President of Government Affairs and Marketing with WMI, the world's largest environmental service provider, Tom returned to serve as Chief of Staff for his mentor and friend, the late County Supervisor Roy Wilson. Tom served with distinction as Chief of Staff and accepted a promotion as Executive Officer for Riverside County Sheriff Larry Smith. He excelled in this position and received awards for his work from the Secret Service, FBI, The International Association of Chiefs of Police, State Attorney General, and United States Army. He was the Agency Representative to the Ford Family during the Funeral & Repose of the 38th President of the United States. After serving the Sheriff's Department with distinction he returned to the Economic Development Agency as Commissioner of the Office of Foreign Trade, spokesman, and custodian of records.
Tom has decided to retire at the age of 55 and spend time with his wife, Brenda Salas Freeman, enjoy their grandson Robert III, and enjoy time with sons Joel, Robert II, and daughter in-law Lindsay. His career as the Foreign Trade Commissioner was remarkable, crafting three bilateral trade agreements with Canada, Japan, and Croatia, and helping take Riverside County Exports from 47th in the nation to 24th in the nation. He also served with the National Association of Counties, achieving the post of Vice Chairman of the International Task Force on Economic Development, supporting global trade agreements in South Korea, the EU, and pacific rim, and helping businesses create jobs through the Great Recession. Tom was frequently consulted by elected leaders in the state and nation's capital to discuss trade issues and Military & Defense programs and policies. In addition to these accomplishments, Colonel Tom Freeman retired in November 2007, 28 years after enlisting in the United States Air Force, from the Military Department of the State of California and is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal-Order of California Medal by the Governor and our Adjutant General. Freeman also chaired numerous charitable boards and organizations including the United Way, Breath of Life, Junior Diabetes Foundation, and served as Treasurer of the John F. Kennedy Foundation 7 Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee in the City of Riverside, raising millions for charity. He is the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service presented by the 38th President of the United States of America.
Mr. Speaker, Tom's talent and leadership exemplify the very best of Riverside County and my state. Our nation, state, and county are a better place because of the efforts of Commissioner Freeman and his devotion to duty and commitment to serve the people. I congratulate Commissioner Freeman on his 35 years of service to our nation, state, and County of Riverside and wish him well in retirement and all future endeavors.