BROOKSVILLE — When Christopher Parker Kline was 10, he was admitted by special waiver into the Navy League Cadet Corps, Typhoon Battalion.
He received numerous awards and recognitions, including one for community service, one for his grades and the Distinguished Service Ribbon for remaining calm and keeping the airway of his caretaker open when she was having a grand mal seizure.
He became a Young Marine, Hernando Detachment No. 708, when he was 13 and was dual-enrolled in the Navy Sea Cadet Corp. His ribbon collection grew as he gained skills in marksmanship, land navigation, fire prevention and protection, first aid and CPR. He is currently active with the Navy Sea Cadet unit for SEAL.
Now 15, Chris is a sophomore at Hernando High School and would like to attend Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg. He attended the K-12 honor naval school when he was in seventh-grade, and he would like to go back, but it is expensive.
Chris is the only child of Deborah-Kay Kline. His father, Joseph Edward Horsley, died in 2002.
"She's always been there when I needed her and she's always kind no matter what the circumstances," he said, "and she does her best to think things through."
Chris has a mentor, a family friend who is willing to match any dollar Chris can raise so he can return to the academy. The mentor, William L. Hembree, a dentist still practicing at 80, is teaching Chris how to raise black walnut trees on Hembree's farm in Alabama.
Besides hoping to raise enough money to attend Admiral Farragut, Chris would very much like to earn an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., when he finishes high school.
He has the lofty goal of someday being a Navy admiral or a Marine general. He plans to major in environmental or political law or in forestry. His backup plan is to attend the University of Central Florida.
Chris is a swimmer who has won seven first-place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle during this past year at Hernando High. He'll use those skills volunteering as a lifeguard this summer for two nonprofit organizations.
He enjoys wrestling, reading, hunting and cooking. He attends youth group meetings at Spring Lake United Methodist Church every Wednesday and does the cooking for those in attendance.
One way Chris hopes to earn money for the naval school is by training his Australian shepherd rescue dog for competitions sponsored by the American Kennel Club. He has been training the dog in obedience, agility and rally.
Hembree is part of the reason Chris has such a strong interest in a military career. Hembree was a Navy fighter pilot. There are other reasons as well. "I'm interested in it because it's a brotherhood in a sense," Chris said. "It's something steady. I'm earning my freedom as a United States citizen."