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Posted On: 2017-05-12 09:41 AM
From Camp Verde Bugle...
By Bill Helm
COTTONWOOD – The fact that he loves a burger and fries is pretty typical for a 17-year-old.
That he counts the Prime Minister of Israel among the persons he most looks up to, well, that's not as typical.
That's because Zach Reed is not the typical teenager.
His resume of extracurricular activities and leadership responsibilities could humble a great many people.
And Zach doesn't graduate high school for another year.
A junior at American Heritage Academy's Cottonwood campus, Zach aspires to either a career in the military or in government service.
What excites Zach? Politics.
"When I was about 12, my mom and I were discussing the business they owned," says Zach. "From that point on, I was interested in how businesses and politics coexist. And the best position a business can be in."
Meet Zach Reed, winner of the Verde Champions Youth of the Year award for 2017.
Says Len Miller, athletic director at American Heritage, Zach has a "personal philosophy that has him being engaged in numerous community endeavors including the Civil Air Patrol and the Republican party of the Verde Valley."
Zach has "participated vigorously" in community service projects including Police Explorers, as well as volunteering at the Old Town Mission.
For the young man that he is, Zach strives to be equal parts global and local in his outlook.
The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu is on the short list of the people he most admires "because even in the face of adversity, he seems to be looking for a peaceful resolution."
Zach also looks up to his parents, Lonnie Reed and Cheryl Howard.
"Because they have taken so many blows and have successfully raised us kids," Zach says. "I could now have more respect for anyone."
As he works toward being accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy, the American Heritage student says he would always like to be seen as a man of integrity.
"That's how I was raised in a household that valued that, above everything else," Zach says. "Also, if you one thing in life, make sure you are nice to everyone you meet."
At Cottonwood American Heritage, Zach has established a National Honor Society chapter.
Besides serving as president of the Student Council, Zach is an amateur debate scholar and finds time to play high school sports.
Says Kristen Gressly, faculty advisor to the school's National Honor Society: "I love his positive outlook. He knows where he is going and has laid out plans as to how to get there. He has risen above the general drama of high school life. He is a great example of leadership to the younger students. The future looks brighter because of Zach."
American Heritage Finance Manager Kathy Thompson says that Zach is a student "who engenders the loyalty and caring of the people around him."
As he travels life's path, Zach figures to be a very busy man. But what if he did not need to hold a job?
"I'd be volunteering, investigating one thing or another," he says. "Doing something along those lines is something I'm very passionate about."
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42