LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Dave Freriks served in the United States Army for 3 years as a specialist. He joined just after the Korean War in 1959 when he was 18 years old.
However, rather than being honored for his service in the Army, Freriks is being honored for his 32 years of volunteer service at The Salvation Army of Lubbock.
"It's kind of a reward, giving back for all the good years taxpayers paid for my salary. I'm giving back to the less fortunate," said Freriks, 73.
Even after he left the Army, Freriks continued to serve his country by working for the United States Secret Service.
"The Secret Service recruited me in college and I was with them for 32 years and here I am," Freriks said.
But Freriks' desire to serve the community didn't stop when he retired: He became a part-time volunteer at The Salvation Army of Lubbock in 1981 and in 1996 when he retired, he decided to become a full-time volunteer.
"I felt I needed to give back and this was the best thing I could do. I'm just wanting to do the best I can for the Army and let the results speak for themselves," he said.
In 1983, Freriks established the Disaster Unit there and he says they are on standby nearly all the time.
"If there's a major fire here in town or grass fire out in the county or a tornado or a hurricane and they need us, we grab a crew and load up the canteen, which is a mobile kitchen, and we go and help people," Freriks said.
"In the winter time when it's cold, we'll go out and try to find homeless in the evenings and give them hot meals, socks, scarves and blankets to help them survive the night," he said.
Freriks says he has served countless amounts of people through The Salvation Army of Lubbock and although he may never see them again, knowing that he helped them survive at least one more night speaks volumes to him.
"Just because they lived another day or because they're able to stand up for whatever disaster knocked them down and start working toward a new life, we're just happy to be a part of it."
Although these people may come and go, Freriks just hopes the impact he made in their lives lasts forever.