PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Earlier this year, a retired Marine suffered a massive stroke. It left him unable to move and talk, but recently he got some much needed therapy.
Like most Marines, 78-year-old George Freeman is a fighter. He’s now facing the biggest battle of his life, after everything changed on May 31.
“My husband said ‘Janet, I can’t walk,'” Freeman’s wife Janet recalled.
Freeman’s days now are reserved for recovery at Beth Sholom Village in Virginia Beach. Each step is as if it were his first, every word a challenge.
It’s not the image this prideful man wants anyone to see.
“His motto is: you work hard at what needs to be done,” Janet said.
Freeman can’t talk about his three loves: family, country and fishing.
“I don’t think I can encapsulate it into one word, because he loves [fishing] so much,” said his son, George Freeman Jr.
That love began as kid during father and son alone time. It never stopped, and for the past two decades he and childhood friends take yearly fishing trips. But this year, his tackle box was left closed.
Recently, thanks to Freedom Boat Club in Portsmouth, Freeman got some much needed therapy. “That’s all he has been talking about, ‘I’m going fishing,'” George Jr. added.
Those childhood friends drove 11 hours to be by his side. Freeman told his son it feels good to be back on the water.
“How many fish are you going to catch?” George Jr. asked. “10,” his father replied.
George Freeman Sr. can’t count the number of fishing outings he has been on, but this one on the Elizabeth River is like no other.
“It’s enjoyable?” Janet asked George. “Yes,” he said.
“I can look at his face and tell that he is glad to see us,” one of his buddies added.
Freeman says he plans to go on the next trip with his buddies in the fall to South Carolina.