Editor’s Column: Freeman E. Fairfield

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“He never forgot the little community where he was born, being a great benefactor to his birthplace.” ~ Said of Freeman E. Fairfield

As I write this on Wednesday, just before deadline, I’m planning to head to the high school this afternoon to hand out Fairfield Scholarship certificates from the Freeman E. Fairfield Meeker Charitable Trust to graduating seniors. 

It’s not a common thing for a town of this size to have a philanthropic organization that has lasted as long as it has and done so much for the community, and it’s something for which we should be thankful. 

Freeman E. Fairfield was born May 9, 1899, in Meeker. He returned in the 1940s to establish a hospital committee in his mother’s memory, and his financial contributions are largely responsible for building Pioneers Hospital, which opened in 1951.

Upon his death on Aug. 8, 1967, he left $2 million dollars to the town of Meeker in a trust fund. The interest accrued from that trust was to be used exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary and educational purposes. Local churches have received grants for building repairs and equipment, schools have received funds to send students on class trips to Washington, D.C., the hospital has received grants for equipment upgrades, and much more. Part of that trust provides scholarships to Meeker High School graduates every year. 

As a standing member of the Fairfield Trust board, I’m regularly reminded of Freeman Fairfield’s legacy, which reminds me that we will all leave a legacy of some sort, for better or worse. It’s the kind of thing we don’t think about very often, but maybe should give more consideration to as we go about our day-to-day lives. 

Happy birthday this Sunday, Mr. Fairfield. Your hometown appreciates you.