This award is named for Robert Mallory Freeman, a former VIMS Council member and supporter who passed away in 2004. Bob was chairman of Signet Bank in Richmond until 1996. He was active with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Environmental Endowment, among many other community leadership activities. At VIMS, Bob was interested in oyster restoration, advancing research with cutting-edge scientific equipment, and helping to leverage resources through his many generous donations.
This year’s Freeman Award goes to Alex Perez.
Alex Perez has been a volunteer at VIMS since 2018, and while he works primarily with the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program, he also donates time to other research efforts including CCRM-led projects. As a volunteer, Alex has tagged over 1,300 fishes, has served as an expert instructor for VIMS’ annual tagging workshop, and presented a talk, “Expanding fisheries research through angler volunteers,” at an American Fisheries Society Special Symposium. Alex is a friendly face both at VIMS and on the water and incorporates a passion for research and fishing into all he does.
On the water, he is a charter boat captain and helps promote the benefits of catch and release and good conservation practices and was the first angler in Virginia to trial shark bycatch reduction devices developed by scientists at VIMS and North Carolina Sea Grant.
Alex’s contribution to VIMS over his years cannot be underestimated and he is a well-deserved recipient of the Robert M. Freeman Volunteer of the Year Award.
Congratulations, Alex, and thank you for your volunteer service!