Congressman Stephen F. Lynch announced today that he has nominated Mary Balaconis of East Broadway for acceptance to the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs.   Mary, the daughter of George and Mary Balaconis, is a student at Boston Latin and the Captain of the Varsity Women’s Ice Hockey Team.

Each year, as part of his Congressional responsibilities, Congressman Lynch is asked to present one or two exemplary candidates from the 9th Congressional District for admission to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, the Military Academy at West Point, the Air Force Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy.  "It seems as though after September 11th, 2001, the number of highly qualified applicants seeking admission to the Military Academies has increased sharply.  This is the best of America's next generation answering their nation's call to duty.  These are all remarkable young people from wonderful families.  It gives me great hope for our nation’s future,” said Congressman Lynch.

"It just so happens that I grew up with George and Roy Balaconis here in South Boston.  I played ball with them.  I knew their Dad, he was always involved with his kids.  Both the Balaconis and the Guerin families have a strong tradition of military service.  But make no mistake, this young lady is highly regarded by the Air Force.  She is exceptional and we expect great things from her.  I’m very proud to make this nomination.  These are challenging times for our nation's military, and after visiting Baghdad and spending some time with our troops, I am especially mindful of the personal courage that these decisions require of these young men and women.  And I know how it effects the entire family, and the South Boston community, so it becomes quite personal," said Congressman Lynch.

After an extensive review process during which Congressman Lynch with his Congressional Liaison for Military Affairs Bob Fowkes, together with the military academies examined each candidate's academic record, athletic achievements, extra-curricular activities and letters of recommendation, Mary Balaconis was selected as someone whose academic strengths, character and love of her country put her at the top of an impressive group of candidates.

Congressman Lynch said, "This was a very competitive process because of the large number of outstanding candidates from our district.  Mary is a wonderful reflection of her parents George and Mary Balaconis.   I know that Mary will make an extraordinary addition to the U.S. Armed Forces.  The Balaconis and Guerin families, as well as the neighborhood of South Boston and the entire state have much to be proud of in Mary.  In making this nomination, I share that pride.” 

Congressman Lynch encourages all high school juniors interested in attending one of the United States Service Academies to contact Mr. Robert Fowkes in his Boston Office at (617) 428-2000.