CHARDON, Ohio -- A Walmart employee is going above and beyond the call of duty to honor local veterans by singing patriotic songs.
Freddy Davison was hired to be a greeter, just a few weeks ago at the super store on Meadowlands Drive in Chardon.
A job, the retired pastor and new grandpa says, he absolutely loves because, “It focuses me on other people and not myself.”
Not long after starting the position, Freddy noticed a veteran of the Korean War standing near the check out area, beneath a flag hanging from the ceiling and it gave him a star-spangled idea.
“I saw the flag up there and said, 'hey, let me honor your service and let me sing the National Anthem if you’ll stand with me,' and he said yes, said Freddy, who has been in a wheelchair since badly breaking his back more than 20 years ago.
“I can’t stand for more than 4-5 minutes, but I stand for the anthem,” said Freddy. “It is painful, but you just don’t notice it.”
Immediately, the hustle and bustle of the store fell silent as shoppers and employees stopped to listen, bursting into applause as he belted out the final lyrics.
“It’s not a regular voice,” said Assistant Manager George Hill, III, “It really is a powerful voice!”
It’s a beautiful voice despite no formal vocal training.
Freddy’s singing and that moment was so special, he began singing other songs like God Bless America and America the Beautiful seven to eight times a day or whenever he sees a veteran.
Men and women, some of whom have experienced the horrors of war, and break down in tears.
“It’s very heartwarming,” said Marine Corp Veteran Bill Gibson. “It gives me the shivers.”
Freddy says he watches for military logos on hats and clothing, while keeping an eye out for military tattoos.
The response has been overwhelming.
Assistant Manager George Hill, III says, both the staff and customers have embraced the singing.
“They stop, they turn around, they face the flag, hand over their chest, they sing along with him and even hold hands,” said Hill.
Freddy says, it’s an honor and privilege to be part of such a supportive team and he hopes others will hear his story and take time to thank a veteran.
And although this extremely humble man wasn’t seeking attention, when asked if he would ever sing the National Anthem for a pro sports team, he admitted it would be a life long dream come true to sing for the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
But even if that doesn’t happen, he’ll keep going for the vets.