Volunteer of the Year Sandy Freer lives to serve
Sandy Freer, Quantum Health: Volunteer of the Year, Columbus CEO Healthcare Achievement Awards 2021
With decades of volunteer experience, it’s no wonder Sandy Freer spends a little extra time recalling her list of services. However, New Year’s Day 2021, may be unforgettable. It was a cold and rainy day, and her Meals on Wheels route was longer than usual.
While many use the kickoff of the new year to relax and indulge, Freer sees it as an opportunity to serve the Columbus community, just as she does on holidays like Thanksgiving and any other day, for that matter.
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Freer, vice president, business partner relations at Quantum Health, is certainly humble, but her efforts are far from unnoticed. Her desire to help can be seen within her daily responsibilities, which consist of aiding clients through their insurance journeys. Simply put, Freer works to break down the complicated insurance jargon that many stumble over.
“We always say nobody gets up in the morning and decides, I think I’m going to have a serious illness today,” Freer says. “It’s a journey that people don’t choose to go on. And we are there to walk with them on that journey.”
When Freer isn’t helping her clients, it’s probable that she’s helping others in her community. She wears many hats at Quantum Health, most surrounding a pain-free insurance experience, but she also serves as the executive facilitator of the Quantum Cares committee, where she helps direct the company’s philanthropic spending.
At the heart of Quantum Health’s many efforts is LifeCare Alliance, the backbone of central Ohio’s Meals on Wheels program. Freer and her team began taking delivery routes in 2009 and over time increased participation to five times per week.
“It’s never been a challenge to encourage people, it’s just part of the Quantum Health DNA and who we are,” Freer says.
Rebecca Hurd, vice president of advancement at LifeCare Alliance, is quick to share her appreciation for Freer and her team. For every route covered, LifeCare saves over $12,000 a year. Most recently, Quantum Health offered an additional donation in April to help cover meals through the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hurd has interacted with Quantum Health through many volunteer efforts, and Freer has oftentimes served as the liaison that connects the two, Hurd says.
“Every time I see her at a meeting, she is so consistently supportive and willing to jump in at any moment,” Hurd says. “Her input is really valued by all of us on staff here, whether she’s helping plan an event or offering feedback, we know that we’re going to get wonderful input, smart ideas, creativity, and all-around great support from anything that Sandy contributes.”
For Freer, the volunteer efforts don’t end when she is off the clock. Outside of the company, she has served on various boards and committees, like the Habitat for Humanity family selection committee and the Alvis Evening of Light planning group.
Freer also is active in her church, and routinely packs food boxes each December to take to the Broad Street United Methodist Church. Of her efforts with the church, volunteering to help rebuild homes is one of her most cherished experiences.
“When I think about my focus, I would say it’s about providing food for people, and shelter,” Freer says. “Because to me, those are very basic needs where if you don’t have those met, you kind of don’t have a chance.”
There are many reasons Freer has dedicated her life to volunteering, but at the core is her desire to connect with others, she says. No matter what she is doing, regardless of the day, she finds joy in the chance to meet people. The biggest lesson, she says, is that her life is about more than herself.
“I always say that it’s not like we need another reminder of how fortunate we are, but when you do something like that [volunteer], you’re so thankful of everything you have,“ Freer says. “It brings me joy, and I believe part of the reason I’m here on this Earth is to be in service to other people.”
Vice president, business partner relations, Quantum Health
In role since: 2012
Experience: Assistant vice president, Cigna
Education: Wittenberg University, BA; Capital University, MBA
Community involvement: Volunteer, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Alvis Evening of Light, Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resource Center, Mid-Ohio Food Collective; Quantum Cares committee chair to focus on volunteerism and community initiatives.