Hanover firefighter to be honored with special JFK Profile in Courage Award

HANOVER, Mass. — In late May the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation will present special JFK Profile In Courage Awards to seven people from across the United States who have risked their own lives to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is a South Shore firefighter.

The Hanover Fire Department launched the town’s at-home COVID-19 testing program shortly after the pandemic began. Hanover was the first municipality in Massachusetts to launch such a program. That effort was led by Captain Fred Freeman and he’s being recognized for it. Freeman was recently surprised by the announcement via Zoom with the late president’s daughter.

“On the other end was Caroline Kennedy, so I was pretty shocked when I sat down and saw her and she announced the award. It’s an honor, very prestigious,” he said.

Hanover partnered with South Shore Health System for the mobile COVID-19 testing program. It allowed those who were most vulnerable, like the elderly, to receive testing without having to leave their homes and risk exposure to the virus. The goal was to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

“There was a lot of uncertainty, no one knew, everybody was unsure of how deadly it was and how contagious it was. You might have a pregnant wife at home or you might have children at home and you were concerned as well,” Freeman said.

The testing program has continued to grow. Hanover has administered more than 12,000 COVID-19 tests to its residents. All for free. Nearly every Hanover firefighter is taking part in the program.

“I feel a little uncomfortable accepting it myself because it was such a team effort. But on behalf of the whole team I’m privileged and honored to accept it,” Freeman said.

The award will be presented to Captain Freeman by JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, during a special virtual ceremony that will air on May 26th.

Former Massachusetts governor and current Utah senator, Mitt Romney, will receive this year’s John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Award for his historic vote to convict President Donald J. Trump in 2020 in the Presidential Impeachment Trial.

Past winners include President Obama, President Ford, and President George H.W. Bush.