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A dozen diplomas handed out to veterans decades after leaving school

May 23, 2019 01:07 PM

GREEN ISLAND – Some GIs were honored this morning in G.I. – Green Island – receiving their high school diplomas decades after they went to school.

"I gave up on even wanting to,” said William Reinoehl, who was in the U.S. Navy ’61-‘65. “Cause I made out pretty good all my life without it so I never went back to school again."

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A dozen men who left school early and joined the service, serving in WWII and Vietnam eras (1945-1981), received their high school diplomas this morning as part of a ceremony at Heatly School. Elementary school kids sang songs, recited poems and then presented the diplomas. The veterans are eligible for their diplomas through a state-sponsored program called “Operation Recognition,” which allows local school districts to confer diplomas to veterans who left school prematurely to serve their country as long as three conditions are met:

A) New York State resident
B) Can prove their service through a DD-214 or other separation form
C) Received an Honorable Discharge

These veterans were discovered through an outreach program conducted by village volunteers and the Fr. Kelley Society in Troy who helped these veterans and their families obtain both the Federal and State medals and certificates they earned through their service to their country. Five of the 12 were there in person.

"If this was a different era and you left school you could be in a very precarious situation,” said Thomas Mullins of the Fr. Kelley Society. “So the fact that they put country over self, that's what Veterans are all about."

One of the men honored today will lead tonight's Memorial Day Parade in Green Island. Robert Connery and his brothers Art and Richie will ride in the Grand Marshal's car. The parade starts at 6 p.m.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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