CLAYTON — There are numerous interests and life goals that keep Reaghan King constantly on the move and busier than many other teenagers.
Two of her interests — the Smyrna High School FFA program and the Clayton Fire Co. — recently came together as the sophomore dedicated a Little Free Library in the entranceway to the fire company off East Street on Clayton on Dec. 14 as part of a FFA project.
Reaghan and her father, Jim, made and installed the little library, which is stocked with donated books and also with fire prevention materials.
“I’ve seen the little libraries around and read articles about them. But there wasn’t one at the firehouse, so that kind of gave me the idea to bring a variety of books and fire prevention materials together,” said Reaghan, who is 16 years old. “There are coloring pages, there’s packets — we have leftover packets from fire prevention activities — and then there are kids’ books about fire prevention.”
“The books are all donations. So, I had a couple to start off with, just left over from my house, and then someone will message me on Facebook or something and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a bunch of books.’”
The Little Free Library program has thousands of little libraries across the country and the new one in Clayton is registered with littlefreelibrary.org.
These smaller steps and challenges are hopefully building up toward Reaghan’s biggest goal of eventually attending the United States Military Academy at West Point.
“I’m actually a first-generation firefighter,” she said, of her role as a cadet with the Clayton Fire Co. “I’ve kind of always been interested in military, especially the military law enforcement side of things. So I went to a camp called Camp Fury that’s held at the (Delaware) State Fire School (in Dover).
“It kind of opened my eyes to the world of the fire service and I found that Clayton actually took members as young as 13 or 14 and I needed an extracurricular (activity), so I decided to join.
“I joined (the fire company) as an explorer at 14, and then became a cadet at 15. So I’ve been riding fire trucks for a little over a year now.”
She said her life has changed a lot over the past year as a cadet for the Clayton Fire Co.
“You’ve got to be aware all the time,” Reaghan said. “I’ve been in the middle of dinner with someone or with my family and a call comes in and you have to drop everything that you’re doing and head to the firehouse to go help someone.
“It’s all part of the job.”
And one that she must do pretty well considering she recently received the Stephen Turner Memorial Award for Junior Firefighter of the Year at the Clayton Fire Company banquet.
Reaghan’s interest in a military career grew since her dad served as a pilot in the Air National Guard.
That interest was piqued when she found out that West Point has a very good rugby team, a sport for which she has a passion.
“I kind of became aware (of my goal) when West Point had a camp, and I went to the camp just to learn more about rugby,” said Reaghan, “And then I saw the campus and met the coach and saw the camaraderie between everyone and it made me become really interested in that college in particular.”
A couple of trips to see the Army-Navy football game the past two seasons didn’t hurt, either.
“Just seeing the way that they interact with each other — it’s like no other college,” she said. “It’s just something I really want to be a part of.”