Freedom Federal Credit Union Donates Face Masks and Thermometers to Harford County Public Schools

August 11, 2020Freedom Donates 6000 Face Masks to HCPS

Harford County Public School (HCPS) and Freedom Federal Credit Union leadership and staff representatives gather on the steps of HCPS Headquarters to showcase the new masks that will be distributed to HCPS employees across the school system.
Seated (Left to Right): HCPS Transportation Coordinator Tina Hockaday, representing HCPS support staff, and Halls Cross Roads Elementary School Teacher Laura S. Pohlenz, representing HCPS teachers.
Standing Left from Freedom Federal Credit Union (Front to Back): President and CEO Michael MacPherson, Business Development Director Lisa Snodgrass, and Senior Vice President of Marketing Carmen Mirabile.
Standing Right from Harford County Public Schools (Front to Back): Superintendent Dr. Sean Bulson, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Jean Mantegna, and Chief of Administration Eric Davis.

Freedom Federal Credit Union, in partnership with Harford County Public Schools (HCPS), is providing all teachers and support staff with protective, reusable face masks for the upcoming school year. Six thousand masks will be distributed to all teachers, office workers, food service staff, facilities staff, transportation staff, teacher substitutes, and new hires.

Additionally, 30 infrared no-contact thermometers have been donated by Freedom for use in all HCPS school buildings and offices to supplement similar thermometers already available in each school’s health suite. The $26,000 contribution to purchase the masks and thermometers is intended to show appreciation for every HCPS employee’s contribution and dedication, and to provide critical protective equipment to help support HCPS protocols to keep all HCPS employees safe and healthy during the upcoming year.

Freedom Federal Credit Union was originally slated to sponsor the HCPS Annual Employee Service Recognition Program and Awards Dinner, which they have sponsored since 2013. The program recognized hundreds of employees annually who had reached 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years of service milestones. Due to the statewide closure of schools, and social function restrictions, the 2020 recognition program was cancelled. Freedom, working closely with school administrators, believed that the face masks would be a great way to show appreciation for all HCPS staff- both in and out of the classroom.

Prior to the decision on whether or not the upcoming school year would resume in person or virtually, both Freedom and HCPS administration recognized that many hundreds of staff members will continue to be required to report in person either regularly or periodically, and that all staff, including those working remotely, would continue to need face coverings for use in any public setting.

“In the best of times, we have always made it a priority to show our teachers that we care about their well-being and appreciate their dedication to the children in our community,” stated President and CEO of Freedom Federal Credit Union, Mike MacPherson. “In what now feels like the worst of times, we know that the pressures our educators, and all those who support our education system, face, will be great, and we hope this sponsorship will show our appreciation for all they do while supporting their health and safety.”

Invited to represent HCPS teachers in a photograph showcasing the new masks, Laura S. Pohlenz, a vocal music teacher at Halls Cross Roads Elementary School, recently completed her 30th year teaching for HCPS. Ms. Pohlenz expressed, “I am happy to represent teachers in this partnership with Freedom Federal Credit Union, and would like to personally thank them for this generous gift of face masks to the school system, in an effort to ensure the safety for our students and staff during this time.”

Representing HCPS support staff in this partnership, Transportation Coordinator, Tina Hockaday, who has been with HCPS for 14 years, remarked, “We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Freedom Federal Credit Union. Thank you for thinking of the safety of our students and staff.”
In the July 29, 2020 Superintendent’s Bulletin, Dr. Sean Bulson, acknowledged the contribution. “This year, FFCU has chosen to recognize all employees of HCPS by donating a protective face mask for every employee. By means of this generous contribution, they would like to honor and show their appreciation for the work done by every HCPS employee as we continue to educate the students of HCPS, while maintaining a safe and protected environment for staff and students. We hope that you will join us in expressing our appreciation to Freedom Federal Credit Union for this generous contribution!”

About Freedom Federal Credit Union

Freedom Federal Credit Union is a community-chartered federal credit union offering consumer financial services to those who live, work, volunteer, worship, attend school, or have family in Harford and Baltimore Counties. Additionally, Freedom offers a full-line of banking services for all businesses, associations, and other organizations that are based in Harford and Baltimore Counties. To learn more, visit

About Harford County Public Schools

The mission of Harford County Public Schools is that each student will attain academic and personal success in a safe and caring environment that honors the diversity of our students and staff.  The vision of the Board of Education of Harford County is to inspire and prepare each student to achieve success in college and career.

Hits for Healthy Kids

Freedom Federal Credit Union Sponsors Hits for Healthy Kids

In Partnership with the Aberdeen IronBirds, to Benefit Pediatric Services at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health

HIts for Healthy Kids
Freedom Federal Credit Union is proud to announce a new partnership with the Aberdeen IronBirds and The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation with the launch of Hits for Healthy Kids. This season, every time an IronBirds player gets a hit during a home game, Freedom Federal Credit Union will donate $10 to benefit services for children at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH). Hits for Healthy Kids started on June 14th on opening day and will run through the end of the regular IronBirds season.

Hits for Healthy Kids is a refresh of last season’s partnership, Homeruns for Healthy Kids, which benefited services for children at the MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus. Freedom donated $2,600 at the end of the season to MedStar, and is looking forward to having an even bigger impact through this new initiative.

“Our partnership with Freedom Federal Credit Union amplifies the work both organizations continue to do in the community,” stated Matt Slatus, IronBirds General Manager. “As we work together on this summer’s Hits for Healthy Kids initiative, I’m confident our IronBirds will do everything they can on the field to make sure the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation benefits from our continued relationship with Freedom Federal Credit Union.”

“The IronBirds and the UM UCH represent two great Harford County institutions, and we are proud to join forces with them in an effort to support health services for Harford County youth”, stated Freedom’s President and CEO Mike MacPherson. MacPherson also serves on the Board of Directors for The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation.

With Hits for Healthy Kids, Freedom builds on its existing partnership with The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation. To date, Freedom has donated $130,000 to support initiatives to improve health services in Harford County through UM UCH.


About Freedom Federal Credit Union

Freedom Federal Credit Union is a community-chartered federal credit union offering consumer financial services to those who live, work, volunteer, worship, attend school, or have family in Harford County. Additionally, Freedom offers a full-line of banking services for all businesses, associations, and other organizations that are based in Harford County. Freedom has been in business since 1953 and has five locations throughout Harford County. To learn more, visit

About The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation

The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation supports the mission of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health through developing relationships with local citizens and organizations who wish to take part in the expansion and improvement of healthcare services provided in Harford County. Through the work of The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation, the community supports their hospital through philanthropic gifts, planned giving, participation in fundraising events and volunteerism.

About The Aberdeen IronBirds

The IronBirds, short-season ‘Class-A’ affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, are owned by Harford County’s own Bill Ripken and his brother, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. Playing games at Aberdeen’s Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium since 2002, the IronBirds provide affordable family entertainment in the Upper Chesapeake region while working with community partners to better the community the team plays in. In 2019, the IronBirds will provide nearly $300,000 in charitable giving and support to Harford County-based non-profit organizations.


Golden Apple-Plus Educator Award

Golden Apple-Plus Educator Award Winners

2017 Golden Apple-Plus Education Award Winners
Freedom’s 2017 Golden Apple-Plus annual Educator Award winners! Pictured are (L to R): Sandra Waltemire, special education teacher at North Harford Middle, runner-up award; Patrice Ricciardi, Freedom Business development Specialist; Paula Pawlowicz, fifth grade teacher at Churchville Elementary, the winner!; Mike MacPherson, Freedom President and CEO; Kim Mayforth, early intervention special educator at John Archer School, runner-up award; and Randy Geyer, Principal, Bel Air High School.

We’re happy to announce that Deborah Pawlowicz has won our 2017 Golden Apple-Plus Annual Educator Award competition. Ms. Pawlowicz wins the top $1,000 prize for her idea to use technology to improve the reading skills of her students.

We support the Harford County education community. Therefore, this annual Golden Apple-Plus Annual Educator Award is for a Freedom member who is also a deserving teacher, school administrator or school support employee. Ms. Pawlowicz is a fifth grade English Language Arts teacher at Churchville Elementary. She states in her entry that she wants her students to read with a purpose, and to be able to really understand and analyze text. This is often a challenge when reading is done on a computer. Therefore, Ms. Pawlowicz recommends buying a website subscription to enable this interaction. Features include a way for both the teacher and students to choose their reading level. This way, students who are struggling readers can read and interact with the same article that gifted readers use. This award allows Ms. Pawlowicz to purchase the needed subscriptions.

Runner-Up Winners

There are two Runner-Up awards with each recipient earning a $250 award. The Golden Apple-Plus Education Award runner-up winners are:

Kim Mayforth, an Early Intervention Special Educator in the Infants and Toddlers Program at John Archer School. Ms Mayforth works with developmentally challenged children from birth to age 3. She proposes the purchase of adaptive toys that promote the learning of cause and effect and intentionality. The toys also foster communication, motor development and social-emotional development.

Sandra Waltemire teaches children with significant intellectual disabilities at North Harford Middle School. Her idea is to purchase supplies and ingredients to help her students apply skills in a real-life-situation — completing a cooking recipe. In the process, functional math skills, such as budgeting, price comparison and measurement are taught. In addition, students learn to independently prepare food at home in the future.

All Golden Apple-Plus Award applicants are asked to submit an essay demonstrating how their idea serves their students, class, school and the Harford County community. A panel of Freedom employees and board members judge each year’s entries.