Durbin Announces Nominees for Service Academies

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the names of young men and women whom he has nominated to attend four of the nation’s service academies.

“Every year I am honored to nominate some of Illinois’ best and brightest young men and women for our nation’s service academies,” Durbin said. “These students have demonstrated strong leadership and a commitment to serve. I have no doubt that they will make their families and their country proud.”

The academies include U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.  Everyone who wishes to attend a service academy must secure a nomination from one of a few sources, including a U.S. Senator.  Prospective students at the service academies must apply for a nomination and demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and good moral character.

U.S. Senators are allowed a maximum of five appointees at a given service academy at any time—except for the Merchant Marine Academy, which is based on a state quota.  Senator Durbin is allowed to nominate 10 candidates for each vacancy and does so by selecting nominees for admission on a competitive basis.  The service academies will each choose one nominee for each vacancy and offer him or her an appointment.

While each member of Congress is only guaranteed their annual allotment of appointments, it is general practice that the service academies will also consider the remaining applicants for appointment outside the congressional quota, depending on student qualifications and class size.  In previous years the academies have accepted significant numbers of Durbin’s nominees because of their superior qualifications.

The nominees were chosen by Durbin’s Service Academy Selection Committee, a nonpartisan board that meets annually in December to review applicants.

Senator Durbin’s nominees and their hometowns are as follows:

AIR FORCE ACADEMY (one vacancy)

Eli W. Houska, Shelbyville, son of Lacy and Jeff Houska

Margaret O. Meehan, Western Springs, daughter of Julie O’Connor and Patrick Meehan

Cameron M. Mussay, Grayslake, son of Antoinette and Mike Mussay

Tommy Lehr, Hudson, son of Margaret and Dave Lehr

MacKenzie S. Marti, Stephenson, daughter of Kelley Port-Marti and Mark Marti

Madison Arflack, Burr Ridge, daughter of Angelique and Brian Arflack

Emma E. Teo, Aurora, daughter of Michelle and Bradley Teo

Nicole N. Artemyev, Moline, daughter of Kristina Artemyeva and Nicolai Artemyev

Genevieve Wulf, Elk Grove, daughter of Tammy Wulf and Michael Wulf, Jr.

Paul Sonfineti, Wood Dale, son of Mirela and Michael Sofineti



David M. Polaski, Scott AFB, son of Dolores and Dennis Polaski

Hannah Yun, Lincolnwood, daughter of Florence and John Yun

Glen T. Hogan, Durien, son of Sue and Patrick Hogan

Robert E. Jannusch, Cary, son of Susan and Brian Jannusch

Keegan J. Fitzgerald, Grayslake, son of Kelly and James Fitzgerald

James R. Kalal, Woodridge, son of Qing and William Kalal

Julien Jin-Asma, Chicago, son of Wen Jin and Stephen Asma

Bryon L. Kidd, Granite City, son of Lisa and Byron Kidd

Benjamin D. Westphal, Orland Park, son of Beth Kuszynski and Jeff Westphal

Blake W. Misfeldt, Erie, son of Michelle and Todd Misfeldt


NAVAL ACADEMY (one vacancy)

Samuel Baser, Cary, son of Julia Dellinger-Baser and Robert Baser

Marcus Detloff, O’Fallon, son of Mindy and Jaren Detloff

Benjamin Keenan, Glenview, son of Judith and Patrick Keenan

Benjamin LaPrad, Macomb, son of Tamara and James LaPrad

Ella Lavacchi, Naperville, daughter of Julie and Anthony Lavacchi

Jackson McClellan, Rock Island, son of Deb and Geoff McClellan

Caleb Rutz, Highland, son of Cathleen and David Rutz

Zachary Smith, Glen Ellyn, son of Lynn and Anders Smith

Ryan Kim, Vernon Hills, son of Jungran Kim and Jaesuk Kim

Drew Wangard, Kildeer, son of Anne and William Wangard



Olivia Banach, Gurnee, daughter of Dr. Nikol Kurziak-Banach and Mathew Banach

Aaron M. Rieger, Melrose Park, son of Lisa and Mark Rieger

Aidan VanDerWall, Crete, son of Pam and Rob VanDerWall

Christopher Welsh, Bolingbrook, son of Michele and Brian Welsh

Charles C. Wahlin, Downers Grove, son of Kimberley and Chad Wahlin

Benjamin D. Westphal, Orland Park, son of Beth Kuszynski and Jeff Westphal