Brevardian of the Week: Josh Freeman!

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Josh Freeman (Planning Director, City of Brevard) & his family

Josh Freeman (Planning Director, City of Brevard) & his family

Name: Joshua Sage Freeman

Spouse/children:
Sara Freeman, wife
Hazel Freeman, daughter, age 14
Isabelle Freeman, daughter, age 10

Place of employment: City of Brevard, Planning Director, 10 years

Are you involved in any volunteer work?:
I serve on the board of the Community Focus Foundation.

What do you love most about your job?
I am able to be a servant to my home community. I am fortunate to be involved in work that results in long-term improvements within the community. For example, my office plays a direct role in the creation of new trails and parks, improvements to public infrastructure, etc. These directly impact and improve Brevard & Transylvania County’s quality of life / quality of place. That is very satisfying to me.

What part of your job stresses you out the most?
It is difficult to provide a concise answer to this question. There is definitely a down side to being in public service in your home town, particularly when it is a small town; you’re never really off duty; sometimes our customers will personalize issues and go on the offensive in very personal ways; there are so many competing interests that you’re pulled in every direction and it sometimes seems that you can make no one happy; you sometimes feel that you’re working under a microscope and that you’ll be judged harshly no matter what you do.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A farmer, forester, policeman, and international aid worker, all at the same time!

What’s one item on your bucket list?
I’ll give you two: (1) My wife, Sara and I want to visit as many National Parks as possible before our girls graduate from high school; (2) I want to take a ferry trip from Denmark to Iceland, stopping in the Faroe Islands along the way.

What are your hobbies?
I grow lots of garlic; help out on the family farms when I have time; canoe; skeet shoot; hang out with my family.

Ever had a brush with a celebrity?
I have the good fortune of working back stage at the Mountain Song Music Festival, which has enabled me to meet a number of celebrities in the bluegrass world. My favorite brush was meeting Doc Watson.

What are you most proud of in your life?
I am proud of the fact that I have the good fortune of being able live, work, make a difference and raise a family in the one of the most beautiful places on earth.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Brevard?
It’s absolutely beautiful, and I am lucky to be surrounded by a large family.

Any funny stories to share (about Brevard or anything)?
None that won’t get me in trouble with somebody…

If you had $100 free money right now to spend in Brevard, how would you spend it?
I’d give $50 to Bread of Life; then I’d go to the library, check out a good book, pay off any library fines, pick up a garlic and beef dish from Pad Thai, then spend the afternoon eating and reading at Brevard Brewing.

Click below to read more of Josh’s profile!


What was the best (or worst) summer job you had while growing up?
My best summer jobs were working at Gwynn Valley Camp, and working for my Uncle Gary at C&S Plumbing. My worst summer job was cutting brush while working through college in Virginia.

What is the best practical joke you ever played on someone?
I am not much of a practical joker, but a co-worker and I filled up the former City Manager’s office with chickens on his last day of work.

Do you have a secret you never told your parents?
I never told them, but they found out anyway. Throughout my elementary and middle school years, I used a telephone “switch box” (not sure of the proper term) for target practice with my BB gun when my dad was not around. Years later, when I was in college, his telephone quit working. The repairman discovered and presented my dad with the BB-filled box…

What’s one thing you did as a child you hope your kids never do?
I was terrified of math, was convinced that I could not do it, was too embarrassed to ask for help, and subsequently shortchanged myself during middle and high school.

Your biggest pet peeve:
Two: people who are mean to service employees, and people who are too busy to put their grocery carts in the cart stall in the parking lot.

Favorite home-cooked meal:
Grilled steak with, garlic roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, and red wine.

Did you have any nicknames growing up (or that your family had for you)?
None that I can recall.

Have you ever seen a U.S. President or Vice-President in person?
I saw President Obama at a campaign rally at A-B Tech before his first election.

Tell about the best pet you ever had.
Split evenly between my childhood dog, Rascal, and my current dog, May.

Where you ever scared of anything as a child?
Dog I didn’t know.

Who was your favorite singer or group growing up?
Split evenly between Waylon Jennings and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedy’s.

Describe a very proud moment in your childhood.
I was able to attend World Peace Camp in Poland Springs, Maine.

What was your very first job?
Outside of the farm, my first job was as a short order cook at the Bowling Alley. I was awful at it. It is the first and only job from which I was fired, so far!

What’s your favorite holiday of the year?
Halloween.

If you were to return to your youth, what would you do differently?
I would play some type of organized sport, learn to play a stringed instrument, and take art classes.

What was your most prized possession as a child?
My dog, Rascal.

Do you have a story about standing up against odds for something you really believed in?
Yes, I have a number of stories that could be rather awkward to tell, so I probably won’t… I will say more generally that, as planners and public servants, we have a special obligation to protect the rights of others, to make sure that all citizens are treated with fairly, to make ensure that citizens are given the opportunity to give input into polices and projects that impact them, and that consideration is given to the long-range consequences of present actions. That probably sounds a bit self-righteous, but these are ethical obligations that we take seriously and that we have to consciously think about every single day. This community is eager for growth, economic development, new jobs, etc., and the public expects us to help facilitate that, but we have to be careful to not lose sight of those things as we embrace new opportunities. That is not always easy in our line of work, particularly in the current climate.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes, absolutely. Definitely happened to me upon first meeting my wife, Sara.

Do you know how your first name was chosen?
I cannot remember.

What famous person inspired you the most while growing up?”
This sounds pretty cliché, but I idolized Dr. Martin Luther King.

What do you think your wife would say is your best quality?
I hope it is that I try to be as open and supportive as possible of her career and personal interests. Also, she comes from a very large and diverse adoptive family, and one of my greatest pleasures in our relationship is knowing her family and watching them grow up. Also, I am very excited that many of her family members have moved to Brevard in recent years.

What’s the naughtiest thing you ever did as a child?
Two things; I set a wagon on fire and almost burned one of our barns down (not exactly intentional but very stupid), and I bounced a bottle rocket off the windshield of a car that turned out to be a State Trooper.

What are you most thankful for?
My wife and two daughters.

What do you remember about your very first date?
I don’t exactly remember my very first date, but I had a tendency in high school to date exchange students. One of my earliest dates was taking the Swedish and Croatian exchange students to the same prom.

What specific memory of your childhood stands out the most?
My grandmothers. They both have (had) a great sense of humor, were extremely hard workers, and cared deeply for other people.

What important goal do you have for the next three months?
Grow a good garden and produce more of our own food.

What’s your favorite indulgence?
Eating lunch at the Brevard College Cafeteria. All you can eat for less than 7 bucks!

Things I like:
I love my wife and kids, parents and extended family, my co-workers, root vegetables, bass stringed instruments, fresh meat from our family farms, and dark humor.

Things I don’t like:
I cannot stand bullies. I mean that in the broadest sense, whether it’s individuals who torment or take advantage of others, or individuals, organizations or corporations who throw their political & economic weight to benefit themselves at the costs of others & / or the community.

TOP PICKS:

Favorite book: At the moment, Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars.

Favorite movie: At the moment, Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Favorite music: Three types: (1) 1980’s & 1990’s punk & hardcore music, and some of the precursors thereto; (2) Anything involving bass string instruments, preferably solo to quartets; (3) “Outlaw” country music of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Favorite children’s book: Everything Roald Dahl ever wrote, particularly his book Revolting Rhymes.

Favorite TV show: At the moment, The Walking Dead.

Favorite Brevard locale:
I have three: Gwynn Valley Camp, Transylvania County Library and Brevard Brewing.

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