‘Miss Alice’ always first to volunteer
We, like countless people in our community and beyond, were deeply saddened to learn of the June 28 death of Alice Freeman, a longtime volunteer and activist.
Our connections to Alice were first forged through our work with the city, the mayor, as a freshman city councilman, Gloria, in her capacity as the former director of the Division of Youth and Families, and Councilwoman Travis, from three decades service alongside Alice for Volunteers of Warwick Schools and the Warwick Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse and we soon learned that the children of Warwick had a fierce and tireless advocate.
She was known affectionately as Miss Alice to the thousands of children she influenced over the course of her long involvement with the Warwick school system. Its a nickname fitting for a gentle woman with such a loving and generous soul, yet Miss Alice was also a force to be reckoned with. She was a dynamo, a whirl of energy, enthusiasm, resilience and determination. She had a remarkable, extraordinarily strong, positive impact on our community despite, or perhaps because of, a very ordinary approach to life, one that was guided by a strong moral compass and the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. She believed passionately that one person could, and should, try to make a difference for others.
We have so many stories about Miss Alice, but some stand out particularly. A child she knew needed to go to Boston for cancer treatment for a stay that would last at least several weeks. She contacted Gloria to see what the city might be able to do to help provide transportation for the mom. Working cooperatively with Tom Celona, the owner of Thrifty, we arranged a plan to have a car transport the mom several times a week. Miss Alice was thrilled,a nd effusive, as she always was, with her thanks.
She was always the first to raise her hand when help was needed, and during the holidays she was the first one on the phone with the names of several families she knew were in need of special help. She was feisty and never afraid to go toe-to-toe with former School Superintendent Bob Shapiro for funding for the special needs students she doted on. Most times she succeeded, because she would battle to the bitter end to protect and help a child. All children and parents should have a Miss Alice in their lives.
Those who were fortunate enough to have known Miss Alice are truly blessed by the countless ways she enriched our lives, and we are heartbroken to have lost her. Alice Freemans bubbly personality and compassionate spirit will be greatly missed by all who crossed paths with this exquisite woman.