On Tuesday, February 21 the Saguache County Board of Commissioners, on behalf of the Colorado Emergency Management Association (CEMA), presented David Frees the 2022 “Emergency Manager of the Year Award” for the San Luis Valley region.
The award comes from a vote of his peers. Frees has served as the Saguache County Office of Emergency Management’s Deputy Director since 2020. In that time, he has dramatically improved the emergency management program for Saguache County and helped coordinate what is considered to be one of the most robust emergency management programs in the region.
“Mr. Frees is a team player and robust community advocate. Saguache County was the new host for the Live Nation Multi-day Music Festival which included Headline Music Performers. This event was the single largest pre-planned incident ever experienced within the six-county San Luis Valley Region,” said Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Field Manager, David Osborn. “Because of Mr. Frees’ intimate involvement in the planning and operational response to this event, we enjoyed excellent situational awareness that contributed significantly to the lessons learned and accomplishments. We would like to thank Mr. Frees for his professionalism, leadership, and strong emergency management support.”
Last year, Frees was also awarded the Colorado statewide “Mike Gelski Award for Outstanding Volunteer Achievement” by CEMA.
Frees joined the Villa Grove/Bonanza Volunteer Fire Department in 2009. He currently serves as Captain and Department Training Officer. He has been a Team Leader and Technical Rope Rescue Technician with the Saguache County Search and Rescue Team since 2015, and has been an Emergency Medical Technician, with the Northern Saguache County Ambulance District, since 2016. Frees graduated cum laude from Regis University of Denver with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology/Chemistry and also holds a Master of Science in Zoology; Lake and Stream Ecology from Arizona State University.
When not in a helicopter, an ambulance, or a firetruck, you can find him tending to the land at Thirsty Peak Ranch.
According to the Saguache County Commissioners, Frees’ contributions to his community and the field of emergency management have become a model for preparedness, response, and recovery efforts throughout Saguache County and the entire San Luis Valley region.
David Frees (left) accepts the “Emergency Manager of the Year Award” from Saguache County Board Chair, Tom McCracken, presented on behalf of the Colorado Emergency Management Association.