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Congressman Higgins Convenes Service Academy Advisory Committee

Jan 16, 2018
Press Release
Accomplished Panel of Local Veterans Reviews High School Students Seeking Academy Nominations

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) named nine local veterans to serve as members of his Service Academy Advisory Committee.  The panel recently met to interview local high school students applying to an academy and make recommendations to the Congressman. 

Students applying for enrollment in a U.S. service academy are required to seek a nomination from a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate or the Vice President.  The final decision about which students are admitted to each academy rests exclusively with the admissions office at the individual academy. 

“Each year we receive applications from exceptional students from across the district and this year was no exception,” said Congressman Higgins.  “We are grateful to the members of our Service Academy Panel who have served this nation with distinction, currently serve this community and have graciously volunteered to be a part of this process.” 

The service academies for which nominations will be made with the assistance of the Advisory Committee are: the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Students graduating from a U.S. service academy finish with key leadership skills and achieve status as a military officer.  The following Western New York veterans, who exemplify leadership qualities in everyday life, were named to Congressman Higgins’ panel:

Mayor Geoff Szymanski

A U.S. Navy Machinist who served the country during the Gulf War and currently serves the community as the Mayor of the City of Lackawanna.

Anthony Caruana

A retired Brigadier General with the United States Army who served during the Vietnam War, a retired teacher and the former Supervisor for the Town of Tonawanda.

Jim Otwell

A Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army who served in Afghanistan and currently works as a Lieutenant for the City of Buffalo Fire Department. 

Heidi Reisman

A Lieutenant Colonel and graduate of the Air Force Academy, Heidi has over 25 years of active duty service with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves.   She currently works as a bioenvironmental engineer and is the mother of seven sons including two serving in the U.S. Army.

James Montgomery

A U.S. Army Captain and graduate of West Point.  Jim, who served four years in the 82nd Airborne Division, is airborne, ranger, air assault, jumpmaster, and senior parachutist qualified.  He currently works at Eli Lilly.

Jerry Irving

A retired Commander with 26 years in the U.S. Navy and a Blue and Gold officer for the Admissions Department of the United States Naval Academy. Jerry is the Director of Naval Systems at Moog.  

Deborah Pawlowski

A West Point Graduate and President of the West Point Society of Western New York, Deborah served five years of active duty service and four years in the Army Reserves as a Quartermaster officer.  She earned an MBA from the University at Buffalo and today serves as Chairman and CEO of Kei Advisors. 

Peter Goodman

A U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served as a Surface Warfare Officer and was deployed five times during his seven years in the United States Navy.  Peter worked at Corning Incorporated before earning his MBA from Harvard Business School, and today works in M&T Bank’s Enterprise Security division.

Robert Webb

A West Point graduate who served as a Field Artillery Officer during active duty for five years with the United States Army’s 4th Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division. Robert currently works for the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For more information about service academies visit: Air Force Academy; Military Academy at West Point; Naval Academy; Merchant Marine Academy; Congressman Higgins’ website or call the Congressman’s office at 716-852-3501.