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Whitefish Woman Dreams Of The Air Force

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KALISPELL -

Representative Steve Daines is giving his official thumbs up to twenty-one Montanans hoping to get into one of our nation's prestigious military academies.

In the middle of her holiday shopping, Amanda Kotila, a home schooled girl from Whitefish, now a freshman studying physics at MSU, found out she is one of the twenty-one students finishing up high school and just starting college nominated by Representative Daines for acceptance into a military academy.

"It's kind of a strange thing, not much military service in my family, but I've just been so inspired by military people and I didn't think I could do it, personally," admitted Kotila.

Of course, this is just one step in a process that takes more than a year to get through. Essays, three letters of recommendation, a fitness test, a resume, and transcript all go into application. The nomination from a congressman is kind of the last piece of the puzzle. Representative Daines cut the finalist pool nearly in half with his list of nominations. Flathead county tied with Yellowstone county for the most nominations, both with four.

"These students truly make Montana proud and they need to be commended for their very hard work. It's inspiring," said Daines.

Kotila applied to the Merchant Marine Academy, West Point, and the Naval Academy, hoping to one day be in the air force.

"If any of them will take me, I'll be so swept off my feet," said Kotila.

Since she was home schooled, Kotila's parents had a part in putting together her application both times, since this is her second try.

"They only have two children. Their oldest one, they feel like they have to make it right and it is a little worrying going into the military at this time," said Kotila.

If she is lucky, Kotila says she will hear back from the academies in April. Right after our interview ended, I got a call from Kotila with some more exciting news: she just got nominated by Senator Jon Tester for the Air Force Academy.

Lake and Gallatin counties tied for the second most students nominated by Representative Daines, both with two getting the honor.

Later that same day, Kotila got her third nomination, from Senator Max Baucus for the Military Academy at West Point.

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