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2022 Hospital Chairman Daniel Freye Shares His Story and His Hopes for This Year

If you ever got a chance to sit down with 2022 Chairman Dan Freye to talk about his career, he’d humbly tell you all about what he has been able to do, and the immense pleasure he gets from doing good work with good people.

Freye grew up in the small town of Romeo, Michigan. Like many Shriners, he was inspired to join the fraternity because of a familial connection. His father was both a 32d Degree Mason and Shriner. “I became a Mason, and then later a Shriner, because I’ve always had a desire to be a part of something bigger than myself,” he explained.

A huge motivation for Freye was seeing all the good his father did as a Mason. But what solidified his Masonic interest was an event he’ll never forget. “My dad passed away when I was 19,” he shared. “Although he was a state representative and had many well-connected friends attend his funeral, I was most touched by the guys that performed his Masonic burial service. They were just every day, ordinary, down-to-earth guys – our barber, the hardware store owner, the plumber…”

“I still vividly remember those humble men standing around my father’s grave, performing the burial ritual, tears streaming down their faces,” Freye recalled. “It moved me. I didn’t know fully what the Masons were about, but I knew then that I wanted to be a part of it. I petitioned that very Masonic Lodge as soon as I turned 21.”

Dan with his dog in his office

Chairman Dan Freye joins a hospital board meeting virtually, accompanied by his dog Fergus.

Becoming a Mason, and then eventually joining the Scottish Rite and Shrine in 2008, put Freye on a path of fulfilling work and fun. After he retired from the Navy Reserves, he wanted to rekindle his love of music, and the music-loving Shriners’ bands were exactly what he needed. He has always had a passion for music, and becoming a Shriner allowed him to express that passion more fully, with brother Nobles, and with a charitable purpose.

“I have had so many fun memories and experiences being a Shriner, mostly revolving around music,” he explained. He is a member of three Shrine bands where he plays percussion: the Acca Million Dollar Band (formed in 1914, it is one of the last remaining concert bands in Shrinedom), the Sauerkrauts (which performs at Oktoberfest celebrations around Richmond), and the Stardusters (an early 1900s jazz-inspired group). He is also a percussionist in the Richmond Pops Band, a 60-piece concert band considered to be one of the premier performance ensembles in Central Virginia.

In his professional life, Freye served more than 30 years in the Navy and Navy Reserves, retiring with the rank of Captain. He obtained a Juris Doctor degree and worked as an attorney at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), retiring as Senior Fraud Counsel for DLA Aviation in Richmond.

Dan with four other members of the Richmond Pops Band

Dan and some of his bandmates pose for a photo in the Altria Theater in Richmond, Virginia. He plays percussion in the Richmond Pops Band, a 60-piece concert band considered to be one of the premier performance ensembles in Central Virginia.

As Chairman of the Board of Governors, Freye brings years of professional experience leading organizations successfully. “Since being commissioned an ensign in the Navy, I’ve been given many great opportunities to be in leadership positions. Hopefully, I’ve learned some leadership skills along the way,” he said.

Since he became a member of Acca Shriners in Richmond, Virginia, in 2008, he has held various leadership positions, including president of the Acca Million Dollar Band, chair of the Financial Advisory Committee, and chair of Acca’s Walk for Love Committee. He continues to serve as treasurer of the Million Dollar Band and Sauerkrauts. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center where he chairs the Personnel Committee.

His philosophy for leadership is simple. “When I’ve worked with other organizations, I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who are smarter than me,” he said. “And we certainly have those people in place here – from the hospital administration to the medical staff and board members – we’ve got the A-team.”

Some of what he’s looking forward to this year is working with the hospital administration to build upon the great work already being done. “My priorities are aligned with the hospital administration –specifically, to increase affiliations with other organizations and to position the hospital to become Shriners Children’s center of excellence in the Northeast.”

Freye said that throughout his career in the Navy and Defense Department, he always thought, “This is great! It can’t get any better than this!” But each new life chapter has gotten better than the last. As he joined the board at Shriners Children’s Philadelphia and now becomes chairman, he said he finds himself again saying: “Now it really can’t get any better than this!”

Dan with National Patient Ambassadors Sydney and Seth

Dan posses for a photo with National Patient Ambassadors Sydney and Seth at Imperial Session 2021 in Houston, Texas.