In 2009 Mark Freeman started a golf tournament to honour the memory of his son Pte. Michael Freeman who was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Seven years later the Pte. Michael Freeman Memorial Golf Tournament has raised more than $100,000 in support of the children of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Pte. Michael Freeman joined the military in Oct. 2005 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment out of CFB Petawawa. Freeman was tragically killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near Freeman in December 2008, while he was on tour in Afghanistan.
One year later the Freeman family started a golf tournament in their son’s memory. Over the years, the tournament has become a special event for the family.
“For myself, and my wife and daughter, this is something that is very close to us, just to give back. We had a loss, but it keeps us tied to Michael,” said Mark Freeman, Michael’s father.
Every year Michael’s friends and platoon members gather for the tournament held in Peterborough. This year’s tournament will be held on Friday, Sept. 30.
Proceeds from the tournament go towards Camp Maple Leaf annually. Mark Freeman was first introduced to the camp when he went there for a volunteer job and learned the history of the camp. He went in for a volunteer job and came out with a full-time position with the camp.
Camp Maple Leaf is a non-for-profit sleepover camp for both children of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) families and children living with unique challenges and is located on 104 acres of private land on Pigeon Lake in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. The camp was established in 1955 by the Canadian Council of War Veterans, which was then run by the Banyan Community Services but in 2015 ownership of the camp transferred to Kim and Marilyn Smith of the Camp Tanamakoon Charitable Foundation.
Freeman also discovered he had a personal connection with the camp. He was looking through the camp’s Book of Remembrance when he came across his grandfather’s name.
“I didn’t even know that he had a connection to the camp. He died before I was born so I never really get to know him but it all ties it together,” said Freeman.
Once again this year, the tournament will support Camp Maple Leaf through the Tanamakoon Foundation Inc.
“It’s giving back to the soldiers that work hard for all of us. We know personally how tough it is to experience loss or have an injured parent and the difficulties when you are recovering from that and what the children go through. This [Camp Maple Leaf] gives the children an opportunity to have some fun and enjoy themselves and be a kid again,” said Freeman.
Registration for the Pte. Michael Freeman Memorial Golf Tournament will start at 9:30 a.m. on Friday Sept. 30 and the Shot Gun Start will be at 11 a.m. The entry fee this year is $150 per person and includes golf, cart, dinner and silent auction.
To register email [email protected].