Perry Keaton, lead security officer at Baptist Golden Triangle, was voted third quarter Service First Champion for the honor and respect he showed a deceased patient. Bradford Freeman, a 97-year-old patient who died at the hospital, was the last surviving original member of the historic World War II 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, known as Easy Company. The story of Easy Company was depicted in “Band of Brothers” – the HBO series and the bestselling book by Stephen Ambrose.
Mr. Freeman parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, fought in Operation Market Garden, and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. After rejoining his unit, he participated in the occupations of Berchtesgaden, Germany and Austria. His daughter is a longtime Baptist Golden Triangle team member.
“It was late one Sunday afternoon when one of our patients, the last surviving member of the Band of Brothers, Mr. Bradford Freeman, passed away. The family had said their goodbyes and the next steps would begin to take place. Those who had cared for him knew his story and what all he had done for our country,” the nomination said.
Perry, who retired from the military after a 30-year career in the U.S. Navy, made sure that Mr. Freeman had a special departure from the hospital. He arrived early for his shift, bringing with him an American flag. When it was time for the deceased veteran to make his departure, Perry covered him with the flag, and he and other staff escorted him, in a style like a military dignified transfer, as he departed the building.
“Perry would later share with his co-workers that he could not let his fellow comrade go out without honor and recognition for his service. Our Army veteran’s daughter was so proud of the honor and respect given to her father,” the nomination continued.
“With me being a veteran, I felt it was my duty to give him his honors,” Perry said.