Statement as issued Thursday by the governor's office:
Indianapolis, IN – Governor Mike Pence recently gave his first Sagamore of the Wabash award to a Fort Wayne businessman who is well known for his countless years of loyalty and dedication to the state of Indiana. Governor Pence recognized Dick Freeland during a private ceremony in Fort Wayne Wednesday afternoon for his entrepreneurial spirit, public service and courageous work.
Dick Freeland is chairman of the board of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, Inc. He opened his first Pizza Hut restaurant in Fort Wayne in 1972. Since then, his business has grown by leaps and bounds, and he now owns 46 Pizza Hut restaurants and four KFC restaurants in northern Indiana and two Pizza Hut restaurants in northwest Ohio.
“I’m so honored to give my first Sagamore of the Wabash to Dick Freeland, an extraordinary Hoosier who exemplifies great leadership and tenacity every day in his business and personal life,” said Governor Pence. “I’m impressed with his business success story, and his many contributions to Fort Wayne and our state are remarkable and greatly appreciated.”
“Dick is very deserving of the Sagamore of the Wabash award,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David Long. “Not only has he been a standout business leader, but also, in his own private way, an extremely generous and influential donor to our community’s religious and charitable organizations.”
The Sagamore of the Wabash award is one of the most esteemed honors the Governor of Indiana can bestow. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Among these who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to our Hoosier heritage. The Sagamore of the Wabash award was created during the term of Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949.