Merle Freitag of Wildwood, Mo., former president of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), has been selected to receive the Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal from the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee and the Office of International Mission.
The award will be presented to Freitag during next summer’s LCMS national convention, July 20-25 in St. Louis.
“The Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal is the highest award our church body grants for exceptional, sustained meritorious service to God and country,” said Chaplain Mark Schreiber, director, LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces. “Lt. Gen. Merle Freitag’s brilliant military career coupled with his selfless dedication to our chaplains, their families and the spiritual welfare of all our veterans is demonstrated by nine years of faithful service on the Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee. It is the unanimous desire of the committee and the church to recognize Merle for his accomplishments and thank the Lord of the vineyard for sending us such faithful servants. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless Merle and his wife, Phyllis, with good health and a blessed retirement.”
The Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal is awarded for exceptionally meritorious service in support of LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces. The service for which the medal is awarded must normally have been performed over a considerable span of time.
An Avon, S.D., native, Freitag retired as president of LCEF in 2010 after 11 years of service. He served as chairman of the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee from 2004 to 2012, chairman of the LCMS Ablaze! Steering Committee and a member of the LCMS Blue Ribbon Task Force for Funding the Mission.
He was in the U.S. Army for 32 years, serving as comptroller of the Army (1991-94) and as director of the Army budget (1989-91). He retired in 1994 with the rank of Lieutenant General, U.S. Army. Freitag served two overseas tours of duty, in Vietnam and Korea. He received numerous military awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Freitag and his wife are members of St. John Lutheran Church, Ellisville, Mo. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Posted Nov. 13, 2012 / Updated Aug. 23, 2013