KeShun Freeman’s service recognized in prestigious award

When KeShun Freeman was a boy, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta saved the life of an infant who became his brother and his inspiration. Ever since, the Georgia Tech defensive end has been steadfast in living a life of service, becoming an example to his teammates and the school community.

His devotion was recognized Thursday, when he was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, a prestigious award that honors college athletes for their community service. Freeman is one of just 12 FBS players out of roughly 13,000 who compete at that level to receive the commendation.

“I am not surprised that KeShun is the recipient of this outstanding award,” team chaplain Derrick Moore said. “You can’t have a good works team without KeShun Freeman.”

Moore made his remarks at a presentation at the children’s hospital. Freeman had come to the hospital under the impression that he would be visiting with young patients. He appeared genuingely surprised by the recognition.

“I did not expect this at all,” Freeman said. “It’s an honor. It’s really an honor.”

The children’s hospital has been a focal point of his volunteer work. He has helped raise money for the hospital at Tech and also made a visit in February to hand out Valentines. At the end of the school year in 2015, he traveled to the Dominican Republic with several Tech athletes to build a home for a needy family.

“He’s very selfless,” said Leah Thomas, the director of Tech’s Total Person program. “It’s all about everyone else, which, in my opinion, is the sign of a fantastic leader.”

Freeman was 10 when his family was drawn into the life of a newborn baby, the child of his maternal grandfather, who is estranged from the family. Born at 24 weeks, he was at first not expected to live far past birth. As he fought to survive, Freeman’s family was unable to find anyone who would take him. Ultimately, the Freemans adopted him, and KeShun became Landon’s big brother, awed by his little brother’s fight to live.

Medical issues brought him from their LaGrange home to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where Freeman became inspired to become a pediatric anesthesiologist. Freeman, too, remembered a visit similar to the ones he has made as a Tech football player.

“I remember when I was 11 or 12, one day the Georgia Force football team came in and they just made all of us smile,” Freeman said. “I wasn’t even a patient, but they made all of us smile, and the nurses and doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta always made my family feel so comfortable and they made everything easier for us. I always wanted to give back one day.”

Freeman is just the third Tech football player to be named to the team, now in its 25th year, following Ryan Stewart in 1995 and Charles Wiley in 1998. Two women’s basketball players, Shayla Bivins (2014) and Katarina Vuckovic (2016), have also been honored.

True to form, almost as soon as Freeman arrived, he circulated throughout the lounge where the presentation was made, introducing himself to patients, eschewing the intended purpose of the trip.

“He is here to serve others and build others up and make others look good, and not just look good, but to serve them, knowing that he is blessed,” Thomas said. “That’s for sure. You can see that very clearly in his heart.”

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