The Thursday legislative session began as many do in the Oklahoma House of Representatives with lawmakers introduce the various honorees of the day and week, but this day would prove to be surprisingly different.
Broken Arrow Representative Kevin McDugle introduced retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Rowdy Freeman as the “Veteran of the Week.” McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, is a retired Marine and former drill instructor and told the members of the valor and heroism that led to Freeman’s selection.
“Staff Sergeant Freeman exemplifies what it means to be an American patriot,” McDugle said.
Freeman led House members in the Pledge of Allegiance, which would normally be the highlight of the Veteran of the Week part of the session.
The pledge was only the beginning.
The House then recognized Lt. General (Ret.) Leroy Cisco of the Military Warriors Support Foundation, a nonprofit that provides programs designed to facilitate a smooth and successful transition into civilian life for combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families.
Cisco announced Freeman, his wife and four children are the recipients of a new house.
“He served his country bravely and this presentation is one small way we can thank him for that service. After getting to know Rowdy, his wife Glory, and their kids, I can truly say that there is no family more deserving of this house than the Freemans” McDugle said.
“For over a decade, [Freeman] put his life and health on the line every day for our country, and he and our other veterans deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for their willingness to serve,” said Representative Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinta, who volunteers with several nonprofits for veterans.
The gift of a new home was made possible through sponsorship by Ben Harris, the co-founder of EPIC Charter Schools. EPIC Charter Schools sponsors the EPIC News Network.
Harris said it was an honor to be asked to help such a worthy cause.
Freeman made the decision to enlist after witnessing the events of 9/11 unfold his freshman year of high school. Throughout his service, he received a Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbons in Afghanistan and Iraq and many more awards.
*Pictures and video are provided by the House Communications & Public Affairs staff.