TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Nothing stopped First Lt. Kayla Freeman from getting where she wanted to go in her career. That’s one of the reasons The Association of the U.S. Army West/Central Alabama chapter honored Freeman Wednesday, with the organization’s 2019 Veteran of the Year Award.
Governor Kay Ivey presented Freeman with a certificate during a luncheon ceremony held at the Tuscaloosa River Market. Freeman, who is 26 years-old, became the first African American female to become a helicopter pilot in the 200 year plus history of the Alabama national Guard. She received her wings in 2018.
Lt. Freeman was previously awarded an air medal for flying more than 250 combat flight hours in May of 2019 while serving in Iraq.
“I’ve just been working hard and focusing on one task and then the next but it is an honor. And I know it means a lot and breaking barriers and allowing other minorities, not just minorities , but majorities, just whoever, know that they can achieve the impossible,” she explained. Freeman does not shy away from being viewed as a role model or a mentor. She called it another chance to be of service to someone.