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When my friend Bob Padecky, the formidable and durable and lyrical sports columnist, retired from full-time work nearly four years ago, he listed in his sign-off commentary some of his favorites among the legions of athletes and coaches and such he’d met over 50 years.

He mentioned fourth a Mendocino High school football player, Reed Carter.

Bob wrote that Reed “has the kind of courage I have not seen in the NFL, NBA or MLB. In a 13-month period that started when he was 12, Reed’s mother died in a car accident, his brother spent six months in a body brace and his father was diagnosed with cancer that required him to live apart from the family for five months. Reed has gone through hell and back and he didn’t do it for money or fame or acclaim. He refused to submit because he wanted to make something of his life. And he has, stunningly.”

Reed, a two-time North Central League III MVP who in 2013 was elected Mendocino’s homecoming king and his then-girlfriend Shanti Marecello the homecoming queen, is 21 now. He’s closing in on a degree in construction management from Chico State University.

And he’s still moving his life forward while confronting extreme crisis in his family.

WHEN WE SPOKE by phone Friday he was at the home in Mendocino that his father, Mike, has been ordered to vacate.

The 75-year-old cancer survivor hasn’t made mortgage payments since about the time he fell off the roof during his son’s freshman year of college and was paralyzed from the waist down.

Reed is doing what he can for him. The former Mendocino Cardinal said of his dad, “As much as he wants help, he doesn’t at the same time.”

Reed has invited Mike to live with him, though such an arrangement would be especially tricky just now.

This summer before his senior year, Reed works as an intern with the Ghilotti Bros. construction company and lives both with a cousin in Windsor and with a friend in San Rafael. Among the projects he’s cutting his teeth on are stops along the SMART rail route.

Reed aspires to land a job in project management with Ghilotti Bros. once he receives his degree next year.

His father said he’s hoping to make it to the graduation ceremony in Davis. Mike said also that he’s thinking he is mobile enough to move out of his foreclosed home and onto a boat and sail somewhere, perhaps the Philippines.

FOOTBALL WAS GREAT for Reed in high school and before, and he definitely made his mark on the game. Bob Padecky described how he shone in a game against Anderson Valley and afterward the parents of opposing players approached to tell him, “I love you, man. You’re so special.”

As he prepared for college, Reed struggled before declaring that he wouldn’t play any more football. “I battle with that (decision) all the time,” he said.

Tough, too, was accepting after he chose Chico State and Shanti picked San Diego State that they’d have to break up. But it’s summertime and they get back together when they can up in Mendocino.

Life has never been easy for Reed but he continues to tackle the challenges and opportunities like someone worthy of high-up inclusion on Padecky’s most-memorable list.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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