Culbertson earns West Point nomination

Connor Andrew Culbertson Courtey photo

Connor Andrew Culbertson, who lives in Amissville and attends Rappahannock County High School, has received an official nomination to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Rep. Tom Garrett, a U.S. Army veteran, announced his nomination of Connor as well as several other students from his 5th congressional district to attend U.S. service academies. Part of the application process for young people like Connor is obtaining a nomination from an authorized nominating source, such as a member of Congress.

That said, the nomination itself doesn’t come without expert input, in this case the Republican congressman’s Fifth District Service Academy Nomination Board, who interviewed and evaluated applicants for nominations to the various academies. Comprised of veterans, past academy graduates, and educators, the board was appointed by Garrett to assist him with identifying the most highly qualified applicants.

Fifth District applicants typically represent the top-tier of their class, are active in their communities, and demonstrate great potential for leadership. In announcing the nominations, Garrett said:

“These future leaders of America have shown outstanding qualities in the classroom, but also in the community. Those who attend these academies go on to become leaders not only in the military but in a whole host of different fields. In even applying to attend, they have expressed a willingness to serve and sacrifice for their country, and for that, they have my deepest admiration. These young men and women are a great example of why we have hope for the future of our great country. I am proud to uphold this tradition and applaud them for their commitment to our nation . . .

“I am confident these students will excel at these institutions if they are accepted. They will be able to meet the rigorous requirements set by the academies, and will serve our nation with honor.”

Last June, in a letter to the editor of this newspaper, Connor introduced himself as a 17-year-old student of Rappahannock and Boy Scout of Troop 316 who was working on his Eagle Scout Project. He’d explained that he’d recently traveled solo to northeastern Brazil, where he volunteered at an organization called Associação Espírita, which is dedicated to spiritual and humanitarian outreach in a region where running water is scarce to none and electricity is almost all harnessed illegally.

In addition, Connor pointed out, an astonishing 27 percent of the community was illiterate, primarily because many of the children had no access to school.

“When I returned from Brazil, I knew that I had to help these people in some manner,” the student continued, setting out to raise much-needed funds to help pay for 4,000 booklets he printed — Bible verses in English and Portuguese — to distribute on his return visit to Brazil last July.

Connor is the son of Christopher and Holly Culbertson.

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at