Local students nominated for U.S service academies

MEDFORD, Ore.  — Five southern Oregon students are being nominated to the nation’s service academies by Rep. Greg Walden this spring.

Four of his nominated students and their families from Jackson and Klamath counties joined him Saturday morning in honor of their achievements.

“In order to be nominated, you have to have top grades, you have to have served your community, you need to be fairly athletic,” said Walden. “They’ve earned this themselves and it’s not easy,” he said.

Klamath Union High School Senior Bandon VanMeter said it’s been a long journey since 7th grade.

“I started doing little things, taking harder classes, taking varsity sports, just gearing up and preparing myself,” said VanMeter.

President and Vice President of his high school are just some of his qualifications but VanMeter said he couldn’t have done it without the support of his parents.

“He’s just been so passionate about it. He just researched what he needed to do and getting involved with leadership and sports in school,” said mother Amy Johnson.

Vanmeter was nominated to three United States service academies before making his decision to commit to the United States Airforce Academy this spring.

Some of the students haven’t yet been accepted into the service academy they’ve applied for but representative Walden said he believes in them.

“Today is a day where the community can take pride. You can look at them and know that America is in good hands when people like this are willing to serve, ” said Rep. Walden.  “These young men and women who will step forward and protect our country, protect our way of life, secure our freedom and leaves you feeling good about the future of America.”

Listed below are the other southern Orgon students Representative Walden nominated to the service academies.

Dana Jung — attending North Medford High School — nominated to the United States Military Academy (West Point), and United States Air Force Academy.

Brandon VanMeter —attending Klamath Union High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, and United States Military Academy (West Point).

Nolan Britton— attending Lost River High School — nominated to the United States Air Force Academy.

Jacob Healy —attending Mazama High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy.

Maximillian Balakas— attending Mazama High School — nominated to United States Military Academy (West Point).

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