Family of fallen ACI correctional officer, Lt. Russell Freeman, start foundation in his name

"This is something that we want somebody to be able to benefit from because that's what dad would want," said Stone Freeman.

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – The family of an ACI correctional officer who died of COVID-19 is paying it forward, by starting a foundation to help local families in need.

The Live Like Russ Foundation was created by the Freeman family, in honor of Lieutenant Russell Freeman, who lost his battle with COVID-19 in December.

The foundation was created in hopes to raise money for scholarships and financial assistance for local families in need.

When Lt. Russell Freeman died of COVID-19 in December, there was an outpouring of support for his family from across the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The Freeman family held a drive-by donation in front of their home in Warwick on Saturday, where dozens of people stopped by to donate money to the family’s new foundation: The Live Like Russ Foundation.

The Freeman’s gave out bracelets reading “Live Like Russ” to anyone who donated, no matter the amount.

The bracelets also display Lt. Freeman’s badge number, 1163.

“This is something that we want somebody to be able to benefit from because that’s what dad would want,” said Stone, Lt. Freeman’s son.

Stone Freeman said all of the money collected will go towards scholarships and financial assistance for local families in need.

“All we’re looking for is somebody to tell us what they’re going to do in life that embodies who my father was,” Stone told ABC6.

Lt. Freeman was nearly a 30-year veteran of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. He battled COVID-19 for weeks in the hospital, before he died on December 14.

Lt. Freeman began his career with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections in 1991 as a correctional officer.  Freeman was promoted to the Special Investigations Unit in 2006, where the department said “he served with distinction, garnering an excellent reputation among law enforcement for his tenacity and professionalism.”

In 2014 Freeman was promoted to Lieutenant, assigned to the Women’s Facility.

In December, RIDOC Director Patricia Coyne-Fague said Freeman’s personnel file is “replete with commendations and letters of appreciation for his work, and he was a credit to this Department.”

The Freeman family wasted no time in carrying on his legacy, by starting their foundation in his name.

“It’s small right now, but we want to get it to grow and year after year make it a big thing,” said Stone.

As of Saturday, the Freeman family raised several thousand dollars to go towards the Live Like Russ Foundation.

To learn more about how to donate, reach out to the Freeman family via email, at livelikeruss1163@gmail.com.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island, Warwick