First and Goal
Stepdad Proud of USC’s Brandon Hancock
Freis, a Produce Clerk at Vons 1754 in Fresno, has two adult children and two adult stepchildren. He takes pride in all of their accomplishments, but especially those of his stepson, Brandon Hancock.
Hancock was slated to be the starting fullback on the 2006 University of Southern California football team. Unfortunately, while working out in pre-season training camp, he tore two ligaments in his right knee. Two years ago, he had a similar injury in his left knee.
“Brandon received his degree in May and is in graduate school,” Freis said. “But he had one more year of eligibility left, so this injury ended his college playing days.”
Hancock had surgery to repair the injury and hopes to be ready for National Football League tryout camps next spring.
Freis hopes his stepson succeeds in sports, but he’s not worried about his chances in any case. Hancock had a 3.91 grade point average as an undergraduate and was chosen as a football Academic All-American. Upon graduation, he was awarded the USC Order of the Palm and Laurel. The award is presented to a student who demonstrates significant leadership ability, community involvement and academic achievement. He is also an award-winning body builder.
“Brandon is the most focused individual I know,” Freis said. “He had the two knee injuries and two other serious injuries from weight-training accidents. The determination and perseverance he demonstrated in getting back into playing shape was remarkable.”
Freis first met Hancock when he began dating his mom Jeanne, whom Freis eventually married.
“Brandon was 11 years old when I met his mother and he was a pretty skinny kid,” Freis recalled. “But he played football since he was in fifth grade. When he got to seventh grade, his classmates began teasing him about his skinny legs. So Brandon began a weight-lifting program.”
Through hard work, he developed his athletic skills throughout high school. When he was a senior, he received football scholarship offers from some of the top college programs in the country, in addition to USC, such as Texas, Florida, Tennessee and Stanford.
Hancock chose to play at Southern Cal because he wanted to be closer to home so his family could attend the games.
“We went to all of the games,” Freis said. “It was a tremendous experience to watch him play for a major college football program.
“Brandon played with three Heisman trophy winners in his career: Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. His blocking for them helped them win the Heisman award,” Freis said.
Freis began his career in the industry in 1970 at Hanoian’s, a small family owned store in Fresno. He has been with Vons since 1983.
“Vons was non-Union when I started there,” he said. “I participated in the informational picketing until the Union was recognized.”
He added: “You can’t beat the job security and other benefits you get with a Union job. When you have children, those health benefits come in handy.”
In his spare time, Freis likes to travel around the United States and fish for trout at lakes around Fresno.
After 36 years in the industry, he has no immediate plans to retire. “I like what I do and plan to continue working for the foreseeable future,” he said.
USC fullback Brandon Hancock celebrated his graduation
with his mother, Jeanne, and his stepfather, UFCW 8
member Curt Freis.
USC halfback Brandon Hancock in a photo from
his website, www.brandonhancock.com.