David G. Simons and Donna M. Simons, the proud parents of Poultney High School senior Joseph D. Simons, shared the excitement of their sons recent nomination to a U.S. service academy. A nomination by a public office is a major step in the highly-competitive admissions process. Simons, one of 21 Vermonters, was nominated to either West Point, Merchant Marine Academy, Air Force Academy, and Naval Academy. On Dec. 22, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, as wel las Congressman Peter Welch, congratulated all 21 nominees at a special reception in the Cedar Creek Room of the Vermont State House in Montpelier. Simons had a photo opportunity with the representatives. The Simons familys history of serving our country began with Josephs grandfather, James Philip Simons, who had been in the Army during World War I and North Africa. His father, David, served in Seabee, the Navy Construction Battalion. An older sister, Christina Smith, is in the Navy Reserve. David Michael, an older brother, served in the Marines, and brother, Stephen, enlisted in the Marines Aviation. Simons parents, noticeably more than proud of their son, were at first at a loss for words. Donna said, What could I say? Joey is determined, has strong leadership skills, has his own convictions, and stays strong never wavering. He doesnt give up. I personally concur with his mother, as I had had the pleasure of teaching Joey 8th grade English and have had the opportunity to observe Joey during and after school hours, said PHS teacher and Rutland Tribune reporter Catherine Oliverio. While in 8th grade, I vividly remember how Joey told me that he would serve our country in one capacity or another due to the strong family tradition. His determination, discipline, and leadership skills cannot go unnoticed by those that know him. He has been a great asset to the Poultney Community. The arduous admissions process began in June 2006. Recently, Simons applied to The U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) located in Norwich. This is one of the best leadership courses offered in America. Simons wants to specialize in civil engineering. During the application process, Simons has written many essays in preparation for acceptance. One question that stood out in my mind included, Why would you want to attend the United States Military Academy and serve on active duty as an Army officer? The words, respect, professional, and freedoms resonated throughout Simons response. The United States Military Academy is renown for making scholars and the most respectful people. The Academy trains the most professional people and creates a people of a higher caliber that cause them to be the utmost respectful people. I want to serve on active duty as an Army officer because I feel the freedoms I have in the United States are something I want people to continue to have everywhere. I wish to serve to protect these freedoms our forefathers fought to win us. Best of luck to Simons in fulfilling his dream in serving our country and preserving our freedoms.