SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — It doesn’t matter the Shawnee sports event.
Ron Freed is usually there greeting everyone.
The personable Freed has been a mainstay at Shawnee games for more than a decade, both as an announcer and as a statistician.
Freed is being honored today as The Lima News’ Paul Smith Award winner. The award is given each year to the high school varsity sports volunteer person who gives time to make sure that day’s sport can run smoothly.
Freed is a 1970 Shawnee High School grad. His trend of helping the Indians dates back to his grade school days when he served as the manager for the boys basketball teams in the glory days of the mid-1960s.
He began contributing as a coach in the 1980s when his son, Jerod, began playing T-ball. Freed coached T-ball, Little League and the older leagues, as well.
Freed and several others organized the Shawnee Baseball Association.
“As my son went up, I went up (coaching),” he said. “I coached Pony League, Junior ACME and ACME. I helped out with the freshman team and the junior varsity.”
Freed began keeping the baseball scorebook when his son started playing junior varsity baseball. He continued to keep the book for 10 years under former varsity coach Chuck LaGrande.
“I wanted to be close to the games,” he said.
In 1999, he began doing the public address for the baseball games.
That led to him doing the announcing for football games in the fall of 1999, a streak of 12 years that he continues today.
He also continues to announce the girls varsity basketball and boys junior varsity and varsity basketball games for the last 10 years.
That covered the Jamar Butler era, who went on to win Mr. Basketball.
“I started doing the girls when Gretchen Prichard was there (coaching),” he said. ... “That was amazing (watching Butler). It was a lot of fun seeing him play.”
Freed also served two separate terms as the Shawnee Boosters Club president.
“Ron is truly a Shawnee Indian,” Shawnee athletic director Dick Heath said. “He’s very supportive of all the athletic programs and cares about the athletics.”
Freed has continued to be a regular at football and basketball games in spite of having health problems.
He battled neck and throat cancer in 2002. However, Freed wasn’t on the sideline for long before he returned to the microphone.
And Freed was given a warm welcome upon his return.
“I had my (cancer) surgery in July and took off baseball that year,” Freed said. “I came back and did football and basketball in 2002. ... I had radiation in August. I got a little froggy (on the mic), but I don’t think I missed a game. As long as they didn’t kick me out, I was going to keep doing it.”