By Kevin Eickman
One of the elements that Dustin Reeder, a 2015 Milford graduate, brought to the table was leadership, it’s a trait that will serve him well in years to come. Over the years of watching him compete on the Buccaneer baseball team he constantly developed those skills, rising to captain his senior season. The thing that always impressed with Reeder from the very beginning was his ability to rise to the occasion. The bigger the moment, the bigger he became. As a student, he was “as sharp as they come,” according to Coach Nick Brannan. All of these skills have lead him to the next chapter of what is shaping up to be a remarkable story.
Unlike most college students, Reeder’s experience began this past Sunday as he entered the United States Coast Guard Academy, located in New London, CT. Founded in 1876, the Academy is where the future leaders of the Coast Guard are created. The first step in becoming a cadet is completing what is called “Swab Summer”. The seven week program is designed to introduce the cadet to Military life as the days start at 6 am and finish at 10 pm. These 16 hour days will tax and test the cadets both physically and mentally, something that Reeder is well aware of. “The whole process is going to be a challenge, it is something that I am going to have to give everything I have to complete,” Reeder said.
One of the traits that Brannan believes will serve Reeder well in the future is ability to want to do better for the benefit of those around him. “Dustin has been a big part of the program as a freshman, during that time the thing he learned right away was that, when he worked hard and did better it benefited himself and his teammates,” Brannan said. “The team aspect was always the most important thing to him, it really made him stand out.”
Attending the Academy has been a long time dream of Reeder’s, something he has looked forward to since he can remember. “It is something I have been working towards for a great deal of time, it’s something that I am really looking forward to,” stated Reeder. “It is a tremendous opportunity to get an education and serve my country.” Reeder plans on studying mechanical engineering while in school, hoping to serve aboard a rescue ship following graduation. “To see the important work that gets done by those units, that is something I want to be a part of.”
Reeder gives his parents a great deal of credit for helping achieve his goal of attending the Academy, he understands that they were a big part of shaping who he is. “Without my mother and father I couldn’t have even gotten close to where I am,” Reeder commented. “They were the ones that emphasized commitment and leadership, they were the ones who encouraged me every step of the way.”
Looking back on his career with the Buccaneers, Reeder really enjoyed the time he got to spend with his teammates. “We would have breakfast together, go to classes together, practice together and just hang out,” Reeder said. “The friends I have made at Milford are the type of friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Reeder plans on continuing baseball while at the Academy, playing “Wherever they need me.” as he puts it.