Town of Freeport
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February 6, 2018

Freeport Residents Fred Palmer and John Paterson to Receive 2017 Citizen of the Year Award

The Town of Freeport is honored to announce that Fred Palmer and John Paterson, both of Freeport, have been named 2017 Citizens of the Year. They will be recognized at a special ceremony preceding the February 6, 2018 Town Council meeting, which will begin at 6:30PM in the Town Council Chambers at Freeport Town Hall.

Mr. Palmer has been a resident of Freeport since the early 1970’s. He enjoyed a successful career as a certified public accountant and the owner of Downeast Concepts, Inc. and Cape Shore, a business based in Yarmouth. Fred was a former member and chair of the Freeport School Committee, and served on the Town Council from 1983-1986, where he also was Chair. Fred has volunteered his time in support of several community organizations over the years, notably as a strong advocate during the creation of the Casco Bay YMCA in Freeport and as a Board Member and volunteer with Seeds of Independence, a local nonprofit that mentors and supports adolescents. Fred has quietly and consistently supported athletics in Freeport; he helped to start the Freeport High School girls lacrosse program, assisted in the effort to add tennis courts to the High School campus, and was integral to the creation of the additional field behind the tennis courts, even rolling out the sod himself.

Mr. Paterson has been a resident of Freeport since the early 1980’s. Prior to moving to Freeport, John was Deputy Attorney General serving in the Environmental Division of the Maine Attorney General’s office. John was a shareholder at the law firm of Bernstein Shur for many years and served as Chair of the Litigation Department until his retirement. Over the years, John served on the Freeport School Committee, as well as on the Town Council from 1987-1990. He is a past President of the Maine Chapter of the ACLU, and has spent countless hours volunteering as a mentor for middle and high school kids in Freeport and Topsham through Seeds of Independence. John also serves as the Chairperson of the Development Committee for Safe Passage, a non-profit that provides education, support and hope for at-risk children in Guatemala. John has also been involved with the Freeport Players, the Greater Freeport Community Chorus, and other arts organizations throughout the years.

Most recently, Fred and John served as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the Tri-Town Track and Field Committee, a local non-profit that was instrumental in advocating for the creation of, and raising funds for, the recently completed track and field project adjacent at Freeport High School. Other volunteers on this project have credited both Fred and John’s leadership, as well as the hundreds of hours of hard work they volunteered, as a critical factor in the ultimate success of the project.

“The track and field project is a tangible reflection of the decades of dedication and service that Fred and John have given to this community, particularly to the development and support of Freeport’s next generation,” Town Council Chair Sarah Tracy said. “Although it truly took a village to make the Track and Field Project a reality, it also required people who were willing to step forward, put that project on their backs, and carry it from the start to the finish line. Fred and John were those people and their efforts are truly appreciated.”

Special Projects Committee Chair Melanie Sachs added: “The Special Projects Committee was unanimous in its selection of Fred and John as this year’s honorees. The depth and breadth of their service to the town of Freeport in so many different areas is truly impressive. We are delighted to recognize their contributions, and are grateful for their many years of dedication to the community”

The Freeport Citizen of the Year award is bestowed annually by the Special Projects Committee of the Freeport Town Council upon an individual or group of individuals that have substantively contributed to the quality of the Town, the well-being of the citizens, and the reputation of the Town, in a manner that has caused a measurable improvement in the circumstances of a significant number of townspeople.