Booneville boy no stranger to national recognition

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Updated: 7/08/2013 7:25 pm
BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Reed Lindsey is much more than a recipe for catfish.

Though many viewers may have been introduced to him and his award-winning dish last month, that’s only a small dose of what this young boy has accomplished, ten years in.

"What I think I’ve tried to do with him is help him be well-rounded, expose him to a lot, and let him choose what he really wants to pursue," mother Lisa Lindsey said.

His parents say they always knew there was something special about him, even if he did come from humble -- and small -- beginnings.

Reed was born prematurely; weighing only one ounce, he was barely bigger than a one-dollar bill.

"He stayed in the hospital three and a half months. There was always another hurdle. If he gains weight and he does this, [that kind of thing]. It was one of those things," father Jobie Lindsey said. "You just mainly focus on having a healthy child. Once you have that, everything else is secondary.

But as he got older and bigger, his parents started noticing talents in their son and encouraged him to compete.

“Children need to know that parents believe in them and encourage them in whatever they choose," Jobie Lindsey said. "It’s not always the parents’ choice, what they’ll be interested in, but whatever it is, encourage it and promote it.”

His first creative outlet combined a love of art and the ability to tell a story in the children's book Roscoe Wants A Red Feather.

Then Lisa saw something on TV about the PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest.

They had a week before the deadline.

"I looked through all of my items I keep, and I pulled out the story where he had entered in the George E. Allen Library contest," Reed's mother said. "He had won first in Booneville. We sent that in to [Mississippi Public Broadcasting] and he won first in Mississippi.”

Reed also placed in the top ten of children’s writers nationally for that competition. He was just in first grade.

That led to another contest where Reed competed, drawing this design which was selected by the White House as the official poster for last year’s Easter Egg Roll Art Contest.

"The First Lady said Reed’s [artwork] caught her eye because it had so many different things included," Lisa Lindsey said.

Reed was even honored by the Mississippi Legislature through a resolution congratulating him for his hard work and future success.

On July 7, the family headed to Washington, D.C., again, and this time, it's for Reed’s culinary skills.

His family couldn’t be happier, even if Reed says a chef’s hat isn’t one of his career choices.

"[I want to be] a vet because I like animals," Reed Lindsey said.

His parents just want these experiences to serve as a good foundation for their son.

And he’s learned something, too.

"There’s rewards if you work hard," Reed Lindsey said.

"One thing I’ve told him is when you put in a lot of extra time, you don’t know when it’ll pay off, but it will," Lisa Lindsey said. "Even the experience, if you enter something and not win, it’ll prepare you for the next opportunity."

What will that next opportunity be?

Who knows? But Reed says he won’t be stopping anytime soon.
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