The 2017 Medal of Merit Goes To:
Captain Mark Freeman! Although we have awarded this posthumously, we can say that Captain Freeman is very deserving of this award! Mark was the son of ‘Doc Freeman,’ owner of Fremont Boat Company and has been a lifelong tugboat person. At the age of 13 he bought his first tugboat, Seal Rock, and at 16 his second, Jerkmore.
Mark joined the Coast Guard in 1955 and was stationed at Westport for four years, where he ran motor lifeboats on the bar. As a Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class, he was credited with directly saving 37 lives and countless vessels, which earned him the Coast Guard Commendation Medal.
After leaving the Coast Guard, Mark became involved in the family-owned Fremont Boat Company. After the death of his father, Doc Freeman, Mark renamed the company Fremont Tugboat Company, as it is today. It continues to be a very successful, family-owned and run business that is integral to our local maritime industry.
In addition to running his business, Mark was an avid marine photographer, and his office displays much of his massive collection. He was also a maritime collector – preserving models, photographs, and miscellaneous objects of local and historical significance. With all of his collections accumulating in his office, it has become its own type of maritime museum. As an outlet for his photographs and collections, Mark wrote a blog and in 2009 co-authored the Arcadia book “Tugboats on Puget Sound” with long-time friend Chuck Fowler.
Throughout his life, Mark saved lives, maintained and grew a 100+ year old local maritime business, was an active advocate for a working waterfront, recorded, collected and preserved maritime history, and inspired others with his passion for tugboats and Puget Sound’s maritime heritage. We are honored to present this award to Mark and to his family in his absence.
Our Volunteer of the Year Is…
Geoff Braden! Geoff has been a volunteer for Puget Sound Maritime for 4 years and we are delighted to thank him with this recognition. Geoff exudes a great sense of humor, a friendly and welcoming attitude, and contributes a plethora of maritime knowledge to the organization.
As a skilled shipwright, Geoff’s talents as a designer and craftsman have resulted in innovative storage solutions for our collections supplies and has brought fun to children and adults alike with his specially designed and built pilot house photo booth. Geoff’s craftsmanship has also given us a beautiful platform, mimicking a wooden boat’s deck, that can be found under the hands-on ship wheel and engine order telegraph in the McCurdy Family Maritime Gallery at MOHAI.
In addition to his building projects, Geoff helps us in our cataloging efforts – particularly with the Foss photograph and Austen Hemion slide collections. Most recently, we have been working to design a new exhibit table for the Maritime Gallery and Geoff has offered his woodworking skills yet again. He has designed and will construct the exhibit table, which will have lifting photo doors and corresponding oral history quotes that illustrate Lake Union’s varied history.
Geoff helps where needed, including outreach events and serving on our Collections Committee, where he helps review all object and archive donation offers presented to us.
No matter what project he is doing, Geoff always works quickly, produces great work, and does it all with great enthusiasm. We offer our sincerest thanks for his generosity in time and effort!