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Dual appointments

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By John Barnhart

It?s rare for two brothers to receive appointments to the same service academy at the same time, but it happened to two brothers from Forest this year.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte?s office announced recently that Geoff and Josh Ranowsky have both received appointments to West Point. It?s the first time Goodlatte has ever done this.

Josh Ranowsky, now a senior at Jefferson Forest High School (JFHS), said that this became possible because a recent Goodlatte appointee left the military academy, opening an extra slot for the 6th District Congressman.

Geoff Ranowsky is currently a Rat at Virginia Military Institute. Rat is the name that that school gives its first year students. First year students at a military academy get special treatment, special in a way that most of us would rather not experience. He?s going to have to go through that again, next year. His younger brother, Josh, figures that this will make the experience easier for both of them. Big brother has an idea what?s needed to survive this special treatment, and he can give his younger brother some pointers.

?He knows all this stuff that I don?t know anything about,? he said.

Josh figures the fact that he?s a high school athlete will also help. He?s on the JFHS tennis team and also ran cross country. Preparing for a cross country race involved daily runs of between four and six miles. This gets him ready for the 3.1 mile race.

?I always hated that third mile,? he commented.

West Point has sent him a sheet of physical training expectations which indicate that he will be expected to run several miles each day. He knows how to prepare for this.

?The better you are in shape, the easier it is,? he said.

He believes that being in good physical shape upon entering West Point will make it possible for him to focus on other aspects.

The brothers are the sons of Major George F. Ranowsky II and Susan Ranowsky. Major Ranowsky is a retired Marine officer who heads up the JROTC program at Heritage High School in Lynchburg. They were born while their father was still on active duty.

?I think he saw me, then he had to leave for eight months,? Josh commented.

Josh was born in North Carolina, lived in Virginia Beach for six years, then came to Bedford County in time to start second grade at New London Academy.

?I believe in fighting for the freedom that most take for granted in this country,? said Josh Ranowsky. ?I know that attending the Academy is a tremendous opportunity, and I believe that West Point will prepare me to be a great leader in the United States Army.?

He said that the process of applying to West Point was long and a lot of work. It involved writing a number of essays and an interview with Congressman Goodlatte. The two brothers interviewed together.

?That school teaches you discipline,? Josh said of his desire to attend West Point. ?It teaches you discipline wherever you want to go.

His brother is also appreciative of the appointment.

?I am so happy to be finally going to West Point. I have wanted this since the 7th grade,? stated Geoff Ranowsky in a news release from Congressman Goodlatte?s office. ?I feel very blessed to be given this opportunity. I want to serve my country to the best of my ability. Without people who are willing to fight for freedom, there will be no freedom to enjoy.?

Upon graduating, both brothers will be commissioned as 2nd lieutenants in the Army with a five-year service obligation.

Josh and Geoff?s parents, Major and Mrs. Ranowsky, commented, ?We are both very proud of our sons? accomplishments. We have the utmost respect and appreciation for the U.S. Military Academy and the history and honor this represents. We especially want to thank Congressman Goodlatte for nominating them. We also thank Colonel Olivares and Major McBride for being such great advocates on our sons? behalf. We look forward to our sons? becoming part of the Long Gray Line.?

Goodlatte said to nominate the two brothers for their appointments to West Point. ?This is a first for me to have appointed brothers to the same academy at the same time. I am confident they will serve our country with distinction. I speak for the entire community of Forest when I say we are enormously proud of these hard working young men and wish them the best of luck this fall,? said Goodlatte.