Former LCEF president to receive Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal

Missouri Synod’s Ministry to Armed Forces award recognizes meritorious service

ST. LOUIS, November 9, 2012—Merle Freitag of Wildwood, Mo., former president of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), will receive the Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee and Office of International Mission.

The award will be presented at the 2013 Synod convention July 20-25 in St. Louis.

“The Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal is the highest award our church body grants for exceptional, sustained meritorious service to God and country,” said Chaplain Mark Schreiber, director, LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces. “Lieutenant Gen. Merle Freitag’s brilliant military career coupled with his selfless dedication to our chaplains, their families and the spiritual welfare of all our veterans is demonstrated by 10 years of faithful service on the Ministry to Armed Forces Committee. It is the unanimous desire of the committee and the church to recognize Merle for his accomplishments and thank the Lord of the vineyard for sending us such faithful servants. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless Merle and his wife, Phyllis, with good health and a blessed retirement.”

The Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal is awarded for exceptionally meritorious service in support of the program of the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces. The service for which the medal is awarded must normally have been performed over a considerable span of time.

No more than one medal is awarded each year.

An Avon, S.D., native, Freitag retired as president of the LCEF in 2010 after 11 years of service. He served as chairman of the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee from 2002-2012, chairman of the LCMS Ablaze! Steering Committee and a member of the LCMS Blue Ribbon Task Force for Funding the Mission.

He was in the U.S. Army for 32 years, serving as comptroller of the Army (1991-94) and as director of the Army budget (1989-91). He retired in 1994 with the rank of Lieutenant General, U.S. Army.

Freitag served two tours of duty overseas in Vietnam and Korea. He earned numerous military awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Since the Civil War, LCMS pastors have served as military chaplains. Today, the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces supports 171 chaplains. Among these chaplains, 68 are active duty LCMS chaplains and 80 are serving Reserve and National Guard units. Currently, five of these Reserve/Guard chaplains are mobilized in Afghanistan or Kuwait. LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces also supports 23 Civil Air Patrol chaplains. Learn more at

About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The 2.3 million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at


Vicki Biggs
Director, Integrated Communications
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
314-996-1236 | 314-556-3829 (mobile)

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