America's beverage companies have deep roots and a tradition of giving back in the communities they call home. One of the best examples of this dedication to community is Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Company's late leader A.B. Freeman. A recent Times-Picayune profile of Freeman highlights the significant positive impact he had not only on the beverage industry, but on the city of New Orleans.

According to the Times-Picayune, Freeman left school at 16 to support his widowed mother in Dalton, Ga. He eventually made his way to New Orleans and in 1906, Freeman took a job at the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Company as secretary-treasurer. However, he built a reputation as a man who wore many hats. The Times-Picayune notes, "he was also known to roll up his sleeves and fill in for off-duty drivers on the company's three wagon routes. He also served as an in-house veterinarian for the horses that pulled them."

In addition to being a jack of all trades, Freeman was a gifted businessman. According to the profile, "After just a year in the job, Freeman had helped grow the company's sales by 30 percent. By 1917, they had tripled."

America's beverage companies are known for their civic engagement and commitment to their communities, values Freeman exemplified. Freeman held numerous leadership positions on business and governmental boards. His service to New Orleans didn't go unnoticed, and the Times-Picayune honored Freeman with the 1955 Loving Cup, which is "awarded annually to someone who works to better the community without expectation of reward or recognition."

"His life has represented a very unique combination in that, in a most unobtrusive fashion, he has done so much to help worthy causes and the general well-being of many individuals, the community and the state," said the Times-Picayune, when awarding its Loving Cup.

Read more on A.B. Freeman and his legacy here.