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COLUMN: Our Future is in Good Hands

January 23, 2017
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

There are times when one generation of Americans may look at the next generation and focus on how different the fashions and manners seem from when we were younger. We may wonder about whether the values of respect, patriotism, service, and sacrifice are being instilled in our young people. People of all ages in Central Washington can take heart, however, because among us are outstanding examples that should give us hope that our future is in good hands.

One of the privileges of serving as the U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District is the opportunity to nominate high school students for consideration to attend U.S. military academies. Our military academies are very selective and include West Point, the Naval Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Air Force Academy. The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, does not require a congressional nomination for appointment.

The honor of attending a U.S. service academy comes with the obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation. Students are first required to go through an interview process with my military academy nomination board, and I had the privilege to nominate 12 students from Central Washington. While the final decision for admission lies with individual academies, I would like to recognize the achievement of these young people who desire to serve their country:

U.S. Military Academy at West Point nominees include: Christian Gardner-Domingos of Pasco, who is a senior at Chiawana High School and the son of Cherie Lynne Domingos; and Felix Trevino of Kennewick, who is a senior at Southridge High School and the son of Roger Trevino and Amy Rieck.

U.S. Naval Academy nominees include: Matthew Brink of West Richland, who is a senior at Hanford High School and the son of Frederick and Monika Brink; Chloe McBurney of Richland, who is a senior at Richland High School and the daughter of David and Melissa McBurney; and Leah Snyder of Richland, who is a senior at Delta High School and the daughter of Roger and Leslie Snyder.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy nominee is Tristan Barnett of Kennewick, who is a senior at Kamiakin High School and the son of Mikal and Katheryn Barnett.

U.S. Air Force Academy nominees include: Andrew Diddens of Sunnyside, who is a senior at Sunnyside High School and the son of Mark and Kristine Diddens: Lindsey Evers of Yakima, who is a senior at West Valley High School and the daughter of Jason and Salliejo Evers; Jonathan Imperial of Wapato, who is a senior at A.C. Davis High School and the son of Manuel and Barbara Imperial; Martin Sample of Yakima, who is a senior at West Valley High School and the son of Mark and Laura Sample; and Lakota Wills of Richland, who is a senior at Richland High School and the son of Jerrell Wills and Jamie Thompson.

Clayton Porcaro of Richland received a nomination for West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Clayton is a senior at Hanford High School and the son of Paul and Melissa Porcaro.