REED CITY — “A young man of many talents,” is the way one person described Corey Saladin, a 16-year-old Reed City youth who is about to start his junior year at RCHS.

Among those talents are such things as planting flowers for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike in the downtown area of this community.

He rather quietly questioned the costs involved in planting long rows of annuals, and wondered if it might not be better to plant perennials instead. Last year, he and his mom, Katie, decided to do just that.

They put in a variety of plants on some of the corners in Reed City along about Memorial Day, then returned to water them. He remembers asking a businesswoman in town if she thought it would be OK for him to just plant some flowers, or did he need to ask someone.

“She told me to just do it and ask for forgiveness later,” he said.

Not only did he not get in trouble, he actually received an award from the Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year he added a few more plants, and took on a few more locations. He credits “Mrs. Andres for encouragement,” along with the Nestle Inn and Yoplait for helping with money to maintain the sites and add to them. “This year I used it for hostas and cow manure,” he said.

His mom took on the watering chores while Corey worked as a counselor at Rose Lake Youth Camp for his fourth season. Last year Corey decided they needed a “stone garden” at home, and even though his mom initially thought it would be awful, she admits now it is awesome.

Corey placed a variety of stones along the house and in the area between the curb and sidewalk. He grins as he shares how it really cut back considerably on his mowing chores. What his mom considered would be a mess, has turned out to be a masterpiece in the eyes of many.

Corey heard that graffiti disgraced the area beneath a bridge on the north end of Reed City. “I figured I could do something to change that,” armed himself with paints and brushes, and headed through town to clean things up.

No sooner did he arrive, and so did the police. They received a tip that somebody was heading down there with paint cans, “probably about to do some damage so they called the police.” He said, “They called down to me and asked if I had a permit to be doing that. I said, ‘No, sir, but,’ and about then a friend of mine called. I told him you might need you to come bail me out and tell my mom why I’m not here at the bridge.”

It did not come to that.

Only 16 years old, yet he has lived much. Helped others to do likewise. A short time back he received the Carnegie Hero Medal, along with a financial award after saving the save lives of two young swimmers. He used a portion of the money to purchase a “dream camera” to pursue his love of photography. His mom said the camera was on sale, and since she didn’t have the extra at the time, “he paid, but I’m paying him back.”

She is proud of him. “I have every right to be.”

At her remarks, Corey just kind of shyly grins, and changes the subject. “Oh, I’ve got to show you the picture of the Oriental lily,” and does. His photography, like his flowers, is awesome. A lighthouse. Bridge.

Plans for the future? To pursue photography, and after graduation? “No idea. Maybe zoology or conservation. People say I should pursue something in leadership, and help our city. Photography is big for me right now.”

And rightly so. Placed in a calendar competition recently, and will have his lighthouse shot included next year. Also took honorable mention in pastels in the “Art Attack.”

In addition, this summer he helped out at Habitat for Humanity’s food booth, and at the encouragement of “Mr. Emig, I’m going to try soccer and I will run hurdles in track. Fifth year.”

The future?

“Something different,” he says. Something remarkable, others say.