Students step foward to serve

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Do you know that some local students actually compete for an honor that requires at least nine years of service and sacrifice?

Every year, I am humbled and amazed to meet the outstanding local students who receive my congressional appointments to West Point, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Receiving the appointment is a tremendous honor, and it provides a full scholarship, but it also requires dedicating at least the next nine years in service to the United States of America.

We are blessed to be served by such tremendous patriots.

— Roy Artolozaga is the starting middle linebacker and captain of the Sun Valley High School varsity football team, works part-time for his family business, and is a member of the National Honor Society. He believes the United States is the greatest country in the world, and said “my desire is to serve this great nation as an officer to help protect its interests at home and abroad.” Mr. Artolozaga received a rare double-appointment to both West Point and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

— Josh Brodowicz is a point guard for the Queens University Royals, who made it all the way to the NCAA Division II national semifinals. How much does he want to serve his country? He’s willing to give up his first two years of college at Queens so he can start over next year at the U.S. Naval Academy.

— Henry Thompson will graduate this spring from Myers Park High School, but he’s already received the U.S. Military Academy’s “best in class” award for systems engineering. He has displayed leadership as captain of both the varsity lacrosse and wrestling teams. Mr. Thompson received an appointment to West Point.

— Luke Hardy is an Eagle Scout, a member of three distinct honor societies, and volunteers for programs that provide sports opportunities for children with disabilities. The Weddington High School senior received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

— Trey Shuford has an impressive resume, but even more impressive is his perseverance. He received my nomination last year, but ultimately did not receive an appointment. Undaunted, he attended an Air Force prep school and applied again this year. He has displayed the character and tenacity America needs in our future leaders. The Independence High School graduate received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

— Nate Utesch received the 2016 North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s “Heart of a Champion” award, volunteered to serve the disabled at the Joy Prom, and was a four-year varsity letterman for the Marvin Ridge High School swim and dive team. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

— Charlton Epperson is currently a member of the Honors College at the University of Alabama but is so passionate about serving his country that he will start over next year at West Point. He has a track record of mentoring and helping those around him succeed, which are great skills for a U.S. Army officer. Epperson is a graduate of Charlotte Catholic.

— Carmen Adamson is a cadet 2nd lieutenant with the Civil Air Patrol, sings in the Charlotte Catholic Honor Women’s Choir, and coaches tennis for local children. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy accepted her on the same day I submitted her nomination. She has also received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

— Elliott Schultz is captain of the Providence High School cross country, swim and dive, and track and field teams, in addition to serving as a volunteer leader for the technical crew at Elevation Church. He gets up at 5 a.m. on weekends to run and is a Navy JROTC cadet. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

If you know an outstanding local student who might be interested in applying to a U.S. Service Academy for the next academic year, please encourage them to call my office at 704-362-1060. We’d be happy to discuss the requirements and rigorous nomination process.

Calling these young men and women with the news they’ve received a congressional appointment is one of the best parts of my job. They are America’s true superheroes.

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Robert Pittenger, a Republican from Charlotte, represents the 9th District in the U.S. House, which includes all of Robeson County.

Robert Pittenger, a Republican from Charlotte, represents the 9th District in the U.S. House, which includes all of Robeson County.