Valley News -

Vets of foreign wars receive diplomas after decades-long wait


Last updated 11/14/2018 at 12:10pm

MORENO VALLEY - Eight veterans of foreign wars received graduation certificates on Tuesday, Nov. 13, one of them posthumously, 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, 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 were given diplomas during the 12th annual "Operation Recognition'' ceremony at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center.

Pat Baca's certificate was granted posthumously, received by members of the late Moreno Valley man's family, according to the Riverside County Office of Education.

About 100 people were in attendance, and Griner read a poem he composed for the occasion, titled "Our Day.''

"Years have gone by, and just like you, I'm sure we have gone through a lot of hard-learned doors,'' the poem reads. "But there was one darn thing always on our mind: We didn't get that high school diploma until now. Didn't have time.''

The county Office of Education holds Operation Recognition ceremonies for the benefit of veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. Under the program, vets are eligible to receive certificates even though 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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