Community Focus

Local resident Shannon Freeman makes Stanley proud


There are some people in a community who go above and beyond what it means to be a neighbor and a good citizen. In the City of Stanley, that person is Shannon Freeman. Freeman has been a long-time resident of Stanley moving into the city with his family in 1996. He can be found helping at Community events like the Independence Day Celebration which will be entering its third year on July 6th and the Christmas Gift Giveaway Program, both sponsored by Reclaimed Tavern. At these events, Freeman can be found lending a hand and helping out wherever he is needed. When asked why he helps with the Independence Day event, Freeman answers, “It gets me involved in the community and to see families get together and enjoy the day at the park.” Freeman enjoys the closeness of the Stanley Community. “It’s small enough. Everyone knows everyone.”
Freeman is a Lego aficionado, purchasing complicated sets and putting them together quickly. He shares that the biggest set he ever put together is the Avengers Tower which took him a week. “I go once a summer to Mall of America, and I get either one big set or two big medium sets,” he says mentioning that this has been a tradition “since I was a kid.”
Freeman puts his Lego skills to good use at the Independence Day Celebration where he is in charge of the Lego Building section. He mentions that he loans out his own Legos for children to play with at the busy event.
“If a few pieces get lost, it’s no big deal,” Freeman states generously.
Tom Larson, owner of Reclaimed Tavern, has worked closely with Freeman for the Independence Day Celebration and the Christmas Giveaways and comments on Freeman’s kindness. “Shannon has a big heart. He would help anyone without a second thought. If you watch the joy he has when running the Legos at Independence Days, he truly and honestly loves it and cares about the kids. He tore down his own sets and brought them down to make sure there was enough Legos for everyone. He is constantly thinking and trying to come up with new ideas to make these events better. He will be one of the first ones there, one of the last ones to leave and ask for absolutely nothing in return. It’s an honor to have his support and friendship.”
As a Stanley-Boyd graduate in 2001, Shannon knows all the ins and outs of living in Stanley and anyone who knows Shannon, knows of his passion for basketball. For many years, Freeman could be found practicing at the Chapman Park basketball courts and his love for the sport hasn’t diminished. When asked what his favorite aspects of the basketball are, he comments, “The whole sport, the competition, the friendship of my teammates.”
For the last seventeen years Freeman has played basketball for Special Olympics with his eight-person basketball team. They practice at Parkview Elementary in Chippewa Falls under the direction of Coach Travis Austad. Together with his basketball team, Freeman accomplished an impressive feat by becoming back-to-back State Basketball Champion Gold Medalists and winning five medals total, including silver medals in 2013 and 2019, and gold medals in 2007, 2023, and 2024.
Longtime friend and Stanley resident Joe Karlen shares that Freeman helps raise funding for the Special Olympics through fundraising and raffles. “His teammates all love him and have a great time with him on and off the court,” Karlen remarks on Freeman’s relationship with his fellow teammates.
In addition to basketball, Freeman also participates in competitive bowling with Special Olympics where he won gold with his four-person team at the State Tournament in Weston in 2023 alongside Coach Bev Seidlitz. Freeman stays active playing beanbags in the City of Stanley Bean Bag League that began on May 16th and continues on Thursdays through the end of August. He also enjoys playing bingo at Reclaimed Tavern and competitive video games. “I like all the old games,” he said mentioning, Mario, Sonic, and even Fortnite and Splatoon.
With the weather warming up and the start of summer on the horizon, Freeman is most looking forward to “throwing bean bags and the 3rd Independence Day Celebration and enjoying the weather.”
Freeman is very close to his mother, Joyce and credits his late father, Archie, as the most influential person in his life and his best friend. When asked what his favorite thing was to do with his father, Freeman said, “Just sit there, visit with him. We used to go ride around town.”
He mentions that his father used to work in construction. “When I was a kid, I got to ride with him in the dump truck.”
Freeman shares that his longtime friends, Joe Karlen and Mike Feuerbach, are like brothers to him. “They’ve helped me and my Mom out immensely since my Dad passed away.”
Karlen has only good things to say about Freeman. “Shannon is an all-around great community member. He’s a good friend to those around him and a good son to his mother. Shannon is accepting of all walks of life and enjoys getting to know anyone he comes in touch with. Shannon is often volunteering to help friends with odds and ends but what is very commendable is how much he actually does behind the scenes for bigger doings. Shannon volunteers a lot of time to serve as a committee member for the Fourth of July celebration at Chapman Park each summer. He assists in the planning, set up, daily activities and then tear down and clean-up of this growing celebration annually. Shannon also helps with the Christmas gift program that is sponsored by the team at Reclaimed tavern where under-privileged families can count on their children receiving a gift during that special season of giving.”
Karlen adds, “What I respect the most about my friend Shannon is that he does NONE of this for any praise or gratitude. He does it all because his heart is in the right place for the community. Never once has he asked for the recognition or any reward. The reward of seeing these organizations thrive and the smiles it puts on faces is all the reward he needs.” Karlen sums it up perfectly, “I think the world would be a whole lot better place with a few more Shannon Freemans in it.” The City of Stanley couldn’t agree more.