How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
I moved to Hernando County in September 1993 and have lived in the Spring Lake area since. I was born in Seminole in Pinellas County and moved to Spring Lake when I was 14 months old.
Who are the members of your family?
My mother, Deborah-Kay Kline, myself and our dog, Liberty Belle. My father passed away July 2002.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a senior at Hernando High and have been dual enrolled at Pasco-Hernando Community College since January. I will finish up with an associate's degree, then attend a university to attain my bachelor's degree in business administration with minors in American history and nutrition.
I then plan to attend Stetson University College of Law for one year and then join the Navy SEALs teams as an officer; this way my law degree will be covered by the military in exchange for serving my country.
What kinds of activities are you involved in?
In 2002, I began volunteering in the community and since then I have completed 5,500 hours of service to various organizations and groups.
I am presently setting up a schedule for the new Hernando High School swim team to practice this summer at the Brooksville Country Club at Majestic Oaks. More than a year ago, I heard on CNN that nine people a day die from drowning, and made it my personal mission to teach as many people as I could how to swim.
After approaching David Alberson, the general manager, I was given permission to use the pool at the country club for this purpose.
I am also involved with Conservative Christian Teens of America and the Toastmaster Gavel Club.
Conservative Christian Teens is a Christian civics group founded by Jordan Baker. Its purpose is to educate members with unrevised American history, founding fathers principles, the Constitution of America, original sources, and then we take this knowledge and apply it by educating others by speaking at other clubs, organizations and groups.
Our most recent community service activity was Pillowcases for Smiles. Our group made more than 600 pillowcases for juvenile cancer patients. We also clean up neighborhoods and do extensive community service for our host home, Community Bible Church.
The Gavel Club offers public speaking training and numerous public speaking opportunities. One opportunity I've participated in is with Hernando County's Youth Court, one of the best youth diversion programs in the nation. John Heyne is the coordinator. I have been a juror and will soon go through the attorney training class. The Youth Court is run entirely by youth, and is for first-time misdemeanor offenders. As a juror, I take the facts of each case and help determine sanctions for the offender.
I have been a member of Spring Lake United Methodist Church since 1994, and I find solace with Pastor Todd Stube and Mike Butler, the youth pastor, and the congregation. For our Wednesday Bible study group, I help cook, serve or clean up, and sometimes all three. I am a leader in Bible studies and in closing prayer for our worship events.
My newest venture is with Hernando County Fire Rescue, which recently initiated the Fire Explorer Program, a pilot program for a select group of citizens. I was asked to be a participant of this 40-hour class, which is set to begin in late May.
Do you have any special hobbies?
Reading is one of my passions. My mother taught me a long time ago that anything I wanted to know or learn could be found in a book. My mentor, Capt. William L. Hembree, a medical doctor, sends me about six books a year, mostly on the topic of the military in World War II, which I find captivating.
I also like swimming, hunting (killed my first deer with one shot at 25 yards when I was 11 years old), target practice (I am a member of the National Rifle Association) and helping others.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
This summer I will take in church activities, including mission work in North Florida for a week, two weeks at the Weeki Wachee Christian Camp as a youth leader, life guarding at Brooksville Country Club for three weeks for its Kids Sports Camp, Conservative Christian Teens activities and civic education, Youth Court and my new venture with the fire department.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I have tithed 10 percent of my earnings since 2002 to "Mi Casa" Amigos De Los Ninos in Guatemala City, Guatemala. John Wetterer, a Vietnam veteran, started this orphanage in 1976 for abandoned and needy kids. My mentor, Dr. Hembree, who lives in Jacksonville, has given $100 every month since 1986, and I plan to carry his tradition onward. I have also donated clothes and toys to the orphanage.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at [email protected] or (352) 848-1438.