Freeman honored as Kiwanis Club's Outstanding Nashvillian of the Year Award
/ Nashville Predators
In accepting the Kiwanis Club of Nashville’s 2008 Outstanding Nashvillian of the Year Award on Friday afternoon at the Millenium Maxwell House Hotel Predators Chairman and Governor David Freeman preached the power of a community’s pride and the exciting potential that lies ahead for both the organization and the city of Nashville.
In accepting the award, Freeman chose to deflect the attention to others who have helped the franchise, from Our Team Nashville members to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean as well as his ownership partners and the 17,000 who help fill the Sommet Center
“To me, this award represents a well-deserved pat on the back for the City of Nashville and its collective public and private sector leadership,” Freeman said. “Nashville enjoys a power and prestige that belies our size. It is both a compliment to us and an enormous challenge to us as a city to appreciate and support our many assets.”
Since the award was established in 1980 to honor the person who has meant the most to the city, its recipients read like a “who’s who” of impactful Nashvillians. Healthcare entrepreneur and philanthropist Martha Ingram, Governor Bredesen and country music legends Roy Acuff, Barbara Mandrell and Vince Gill have received the award during its 29-year history.
“The best word I can think of to describe David is relentless,” Dean said through a statement. “He is relentless in keeping Nashville a major league city and relentless in making the Nashville Predators more successful on and off the ice. I know no one more determined to make this town succeed, and no one more invested in making that happen.”
While inroads have been made during his group’s some 18 months as team owners, Freeman said they continue to seek balance in order to flourish as a business, in the community, and to reach the team’s ultimate target of “17,113 and the Cup.”
“Our business objective is to move from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving,’” he said. “Our sports objective is to still be playing hockey on June 5.”
Freeman sees this happening by continuing to push the envelope, while partnering with those who also have firm roots in Nashville – from the Southeastern Conference, its partner schools and events, to the Academy of Country Music and others in the music industry.
“I can envision us renovating our arena and opening several restaurants along Broadway and integrating the Sommet Center into Lower Broadway and serving as the perfect conduit to connect the new convention center into the downtown entertainment district,” Freeman said.
A father of two, active Kiwanis Club member and also board member for the United Way, Freeman was introduced at the luncheon by Club co-Director George Armistead and radio talk show host George Plaster who said in selecting this year’s award, Freeman stood out among the 30-plus nominees as a prideful citizen who had “impacted our wonderful city in an extraordinarily positive fashion.”
“His determination and desire to maintain local ownership for the Nashville Predators was an inspiration to us all.”