On Wednesday afternoons you will be greeted at the Tallahassee Senior Center with a warm smile from Freida Travis, Volunteer Receptionist. After participating in the Tallahassee Senior Center’s Tallahassee Active Lifelong Leaders (TALL) program in 2011, Freida began volunteering at the TSC, first as a member of the Advisory Council, and additionally took on the role as a front desk receptionist. 

Freida grew up in rural Evans County, Georgia. When speaking of her childhood, Freida’s face lights up as she recalls happy memories of school and playing outside with her siblings and friends. Freida said her “heart belonged to her father.” A strong influence in her life, she has fond memories of the active role he played and the big family meals he would cook. Always a diligent student, Freida graduated valedictorian of her high school and went on to major in Chemistry, with a minor in Biology, at Savannah State College.

Shortly after graduating college, Freida accepted a position with the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Washington, D.C. While living in D.C., Freida met her husband, a law student. Once the pair got married, they moved to Boca Raton before relocating to Tallahassee, which has been her home for the past 51 years. After having children, Freida enrolled at Florida State University and got her Master’s of Science degree in Community Health Education. She began working at Department of Health (DOH), where her career spanned 35 years. At DOH, Frieda used her background as an EMT to help innovate the field of Prehospital Medical Services by developing and evaluating standards for accreditation of emergency medical services training centers. Freida guided EMS programs though accreditation and, by the time she retired in 2010, all EMS programs in Florida had been accredited. Her work, however, was not limited to Florida. Freida took an active role in working with the governments of Haiti, Jamaica, and the Bahamas to develop their EMS programs. 

Since retirement, Freida’s dedication to the field of Emergency Medicine has continued. She volunteered with the Leon County Disaster Preparedness Team, participating in a mock plane crash at Tallahassee International Airport. She has also taken time for herself and fulfilled a lifelong dream of taking a Baltic Cruise, which included visiting Russia and Germany. As a true Silver Star, Freida has utilized her intellect and kind heart to improve the lives of others throughout her life. 

Freida shares her secrets to active living, “I exercise on my treadmill at least five days a week, do stretching exercises in the mornings, read books and play games, solve puzzles, host family gatherings and volunteer at the senior center.” 

By Sarah Vernon