"I'm so honored to give my first Sagamore of the Wabash to Dick Freeland, an extraordinary Hoosier who exemplifies great leadership and tenacity every day in his business and personal life," said Pence in a release announcing Freeland's selection. "I'm impressed with his business success story, and his many contributions to Fort Wayne and our state are remarkable and greatly appreciated."
In addition to business successes, Freeland has helped bring political success to many Republican candidates through his financial support. Pence has been among the beneficiaries. For example, Freeland and his wife, Deanna Freeland, contributed $12,600 to Pence's congressional campaigns from 2007 through 2010, according to the OpenSecrets.org campaign-funding database.
The governor's office describes the Sagamore of the Wabash award as
“one of the most esteemed honors the Governor of Indiana can bestow. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor.”