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October 10, 2012

Young at Heart

Freeman honored on 90th Birthday

CUMBERLAND FALLS —  Winifer Freeman is one of a kind, but on his 90th birthday, the World War II veteran is joining an elite group.

    While Freeman’s birthday is actually tomorrow (October 10), family and friends gathered Sunday at Dupont Lodge to celebrate his big day. The oldest of seven, he is big brother to four surviving sisters — two of which were in attendance, 88-year-old Ella Siler and 83-year-old Kathryn Bryant.

    Bryant, a Kentucky Colonel, presented her brother with a framed certificate signed by Governor Steve Beshear welcoming him into the esteemed group. Freeman also received a birthday card from President Barack Obama, honoring his military service.

    Freeman’s Naval career spanned nearly 42 years, taking him all over the world until his last assignment — at the Somerset recruiting office — brought him close to home. The grandson of its last superintendent (L.L. Freeman), he was born at the Bauer coal camp in northern McCreary County.

    The family eventually moved to Greenwood, where as a boy, Freeman built a “flying jenny” (or merry-go-round) and a teepee to amuse his siblings.

    That ingenuity served him well in the Navy, where he invented no less than nine devices.

    One such invention was declassified three years ago and is now used in auto trans-missions.

    “I got commendations but no money out of it,” Freeman said. “I enjoyed it though.”

    Freeman’s tinkering also led to watch-making upon his retirement.

    Active with American Legion Post 38, he has served as past commander and in the Honor Guard.

    Through the post, Freeman also worked to bring the VA clinic to Somerset.

    Over the past two years, Freeman has been working with Daniel Boone National Forest archeologist Randy Boedy to preserve the history of Bauer.

    “He has been one of my biggest informants for the Bauer Camp,” Boedy said.

    Freeman and his wife Julia, who also retired from the Navy, live in Somerset. They have two sons in California as well as four grandchildren.

 

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