A typical day in the life of Freda Reed is one of service to her family, church and community. Born in Louisville, Ky., she met her husband, Ricky E. Reed Sr., in the marching band while attending Kentucky State University. They returned to his hometown in Covington and raised two children, LaTonya and Ricky Jr.
"We were friends first," she said reflecting on 35 years of marriage. "I think that is what keeps our relationship the way it is."
Reed believes if it had not been for the love and acceptance she gained from her husband's parents, Pocahontas and the late R.L. Reed, she would not have aspired to be the person she is today. Although raised in a Baptist church, she said the choice was easy in deciding where she would worship after they got married.
"I joined St. Paul A.M.E. Church where my husband's family attends. "I believe that a family that prays together stays together," said Reed.
Recalling her childhood, Reed said it was difficult because she was a light-skinned child in a predominately black neighborhood.
"If you ever saw my family, we are a rainbow," said Reed. "We range from educators to entrepreneurs."
Reed's father died when she was 18 years old. Her mother told her she was her daddy's child, making friends with everyone.
"I remember going to town with him and everyone knew my dad," she recalled. "I'm like that. Everyone knows my name and my face."
Reed reflected on her memories of this country's great leader, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how he has inspired her life.
"I was honored to see Dr. King at age 7 when he came to Louisville one year," she said, bringing to mind the sound of his voice. "I can't tell you the words he spoke, but every time I hear his words now, it is like they are directly spoken to me - things I know I am supposed to do."
As Reed studied Dr. King's life, she has learned to be soft spoken and to think before speaking. She believes first impressions are the best impressions.
"Through non-violence, I can conquer anything," said Reed. "I hope everyone can carry on Dr. King's dream. He knew the right way to touch the hearts and souls of people."
Reed said she would never forget looking out her back door as a child in Louisville and watching people being beaten for trying to protect their own front yard.
"I was thankful it didn't come into my community, just a block away," she said. "We have to learn to love and respect each other for who we are."
Reed believes there is a purpose for everything as she thought about trials she has been through. She said she is thankful that the Lord has given her wisdom through life experiences in order to help others.
"We are all stair steps," she explained. "We have to learn here, so we can teach others how to step to get to the next level."
Reed has a degree in elementary education and a minor in business. She invests her time after work with the youth at St. Paul and the Washington Street Community Center. She has taught the teen girls in Sunday school; coordinated the Little Sisters Program served as director of The Praises - a liturgical dance team of 13 to 18 year-olds, the young people's department, the youth choir and the Debutante Masters Commission. Reed now serves in her third year as the Debutante-Master Commissioner of the Atlanta East District. She mentored her daughter, LaTonya, a graduate of Morris Brown College, to take over the youth department.
"DMC is an organization that trains children to be a Christian and to live sociably, spiritually and liturgically within the society," she explained. "I oversee 26 local DMC directors and help them to organize their group so the children can meet their requirements."
Reed is proud of her son Ricky and says he is a self-made young man with her father's spirit.
"He can fix anything and do anything," she said. "He is the auditor for the East District of Rite Aid Pharmacy."
Reed became the church secretary in June. She sings and directs the gospel choir, plays the clarinet and saxophone, serves on the pastor's aide board and is active in women's ministry and the Women's Missionary Society. She and her husband are the secretary and treasurer of the couple's ministry.
Reed has always loved music, drama and acting and confesses she is a bit of a ham.
She began writing skits in high school. She is directing a play called "One Voice" to be preformed in February and has opened auditions to the local church and community on January 24 at 7:00 p.m.
"My pastor, the Rev. Thomas R. Stegall, came to me and said he and a group of clergy, including Judge Johnson, is working on pulling some issues together in the community through the church," she said. "He volunteered me to write a play that would carry out the theme."
Reed and Minister of Music Michael Gordon put the words and music together for the theme song "One Voice."
"Whatever God leads it to be, that's what it will be. It's not being done to put lights around it - it is being done to bring a message," she said.
Reed focused on one of the most gratifying aspects of church life as she described the moment when a young person comes to the realization of why they are singing, giving in praise and spending so many hours learning God's word.
"When I see one of our young people finally get it, that is the most rewarding thing for me," she said. "When they develop into a young adult and are still active in the church, I know the work will be carried on."
Reed said she realized what life was all about as she watched God heal her mother, the late Jessie Hall, time after time when the doctors offered no hope. She talked about how God replaced the loss of her mother with an opportunity to love her son's girlfriend and her baby, Bekhari.
Reed came from a corporate world and worked at C.R. Bard for 23 years. During that time, she volunteered at the senior center and helped with clerical duties. When the job came open, Josephine Brown offered her the position.
"She told me that it may not be a lot of money, but it's a lot of heart," said Reed. "I understand what she means now - it is a lot of heart; it's fulfilling."
Reed works as the Senior Administrator Specialist/Activities Coordinator at the Newton County Senior Services where she helps to research and write grants. Reed's favorite part of her job is planning the activities for the seniors - everything from bingo, art and exercise classes, line dancing and five day trips.
"I like to make sure the seniors stay active," she said. "One of the things we want to do beginning in March is to bring in afternoon classes because a lot of our seniors still work."
Reed tries to make a better place for those around her by serving on the board of directors for Washington Street Community Center and Trees of Covington.
"I believe where I work and where I attend church is a wonderful place with wonderful people," she affirmed. "My greatest wish is that we would get back to the place where everyone knew each other and took care of each other. To love each other, just because."