Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, named local residents to serve as members of his service academy advisory committee. The panel recently met to interview students applying to a military academy and make recommendations to the congressman.
Service academy appointments are made by the president of the United States based on congressional and/or military recommendations. Each service academy ultimately decides which nominees will be accepted into each program.
"We receive applications from an outstanding group of students who will go on to represent this community well," Higgins said. "We are grateful to the members of our academy panel who have volunteered to be a part of this process, currently serve this community and have served this nation with distinction."
The following Western New York veterans were named to Higgins' panel:
Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana, retired brigadier general with the United States Army, who served during the Vietnam War; also a retired teacher
City of Lackawanna Mayor Geoff Szymanski, U.S. Navy Machinist who served during the Gulf War
Sean Bunny, infantry officer with the U.S. Army who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom; currently serving as an Erie County assistant district attorney
Patrick Cunningham, U.S. Army colonel with 30 years of service and long-time director of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
Tom Higgins, former Erie County sheriff and U.S. Marine corporal who served during the Korean War
James Montgomery, U.S. Army captain and graduate of West Point who currently works as a senior sales representative with Eli Lilly
Jim Otwell, lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who served in Afghanistan; a Buffalo Fire Department lieutenant
Heidi Reisman, graduate of the Air Force Academy who served 25 years of active duty with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves, currently a bioenvironmental engineer and mother of seven sons (including two currently serving in the U.S. Army)
Jordan Then, U.S. Marine Corps captain who served in Iraq; recruiting support officer for the Marine Corps and supervisor for the finance branch at the U.S. Border Patrol
For more information on service academies, visit Air Force Academy www.usafa.edu; Military Academy at West Pointwww.usma.edu; Naval Academy www.usna.edu; Merchant Marine Academy www.usmma.edu; or Higgins: www.higgins.house.gov or call the congressman's office at 716-852-3501.