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Wartime vets to receive diplomas in county ceremony

Veterans from Hemet, Murrieta and Homeland to be honored


Last updated 11/8/2018 at 2:19pm

MORENO VALLEY - Eight veterans of foreign wars will receive their graduation certificates next week under a program that awards diplomas to former airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines who gave up school to serve their country.

Jerry Arnold of Hemet, Pat Baca of Moreno Valley, Raymond Casares of Hemet, Jack Griner of Thousand Palms, "Ron'' Robert Jackson of Hemet, Steve Stone of Homeland, Kenneth Weiner of Murrieta, and Charles Whatley of Riverside will be furnished diplomas during the 12th annual "Operation Recognition'' ceremony Tuesday at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center.

Baca's certificate will be granted posthumously, received by members of his family, according to the Riverside County Office of Education.

He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, as did Whatley. Stone and Weiner were also soldiers and served in Vietnam. Griner is U.S. Navy veteran from World War II, while Jackson was in the U.S. Coast Guard, which was activated as a Naval component during the Korean War. Arnold and Casares were each U.S. Marines in that conflict.

The county Office of Education holds Operation Recognition ceremonies for veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. Under the program, vets are eligible to receive certificates even if they never finished school.

The program was initiated in 2007, with events always immediately before or after Veterans Day. More than 350 diplomas have been awarded to date.

Operation Recognition is based on California Education Code 51440, which permits the retroactive granting of graduation certificates to honorably discharged or retired veterans who served while the country was on a war footing. All they have to do is sign up.


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