Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) named nine local residents to serve as members of his Service Academy Advisory Committee. Appointees met recently to interview students applying to a military academy and make recommendations to Congressman Higgins.
"It is an honor to have dedicated, local veterans willing to donate their time and expertise to review and recommend the next generation of American military leaders," said Congressman Higgins. "Western New York has an outstanding collection of bright and talented young students who will represent this community and serve this country well."
Members of this year's committee include:
Left to right: James Raymond, Col. Cunningham, Steve Banko, Congressman Higgins, Frank Clark, Darin Shulz, Capt. Jordan Then, Lackawanna Mayor Geoff Szymanski, Jerry Irving.
Jerry Irving: A Commander in the US Navy with 25 years of experience; a Blue and Gold officer for the Naval Academy; directed the Naval Systems Business Unit at Moog for over 20 years
Frank Clark: A member of the Marine Corp; Korean War veteran; and former Erie County District Attorney
James Raymond: Army Specialist and University at Buffalo graduate who served in Afghanistan
Col. Patrick Cunningham: Served in the Army for 30 years; Vietnam veteran; received the Legion of Merit and four other awards for service; Director of Naval Park for 18 years.
Bill Greeley: Retired Veteran Affairs liaison for Congressman Higgins
Hon. Geoff Szymanski: Served in the Navy as a machinist; Mayor of the City of Lackawanna
Darin Shulz: Served in the US Navy for six years; deployed overseas to South America, Mediterranean and West Africa; received numerous achievement medals while active; now an Executive Director of SUNY Fredonia FSA.
Captain Jordan Then: Marine Officer since 2004; promoted to Captain in 2008; an Iraq War Veteran; member of the US Marin Corps Reserve serving as Recruiting Support Officer for Marine Corps Recruiting Station Buffalo
Steve Banko: Served in the Army's 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam; recipient of 4 Purple Hearts, 4 Bronze Stars, a Silver Star; and a 35-year career in public service including 12 as the field office director for HUD in Buffalo
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 their program.