Vets Receive Honorary Diplomas: Military Connection


By Debbie Gregory.

Seven veterans received honorary high school diplomas from Struthers High School in Youngstown, OH, during its June 2015 commencement ceremony.  The veterans had left Struthers High to serve their country in conflicts ranging from World War II to Korea and Vietnam.

The veteran diplomas were made possible through the Struthers Fallen Soldiers Project, which works with the school districts to find veterans who did active duty instead of graduating from high school.

Dick Dale of the Fallen Soldiers project said giving diplomas to veterans is a unique way to honor those who gave so much.

In 2003, the Ohio state Legislature passed legislation to allow school boards to issue a high-school diploma for veterans of the three aforementioned conflicts. It also includes women who entered the workforce to take care of their families during those conflicts.

Eugene Yuhas, a Struthers native and Korean War veteran, was present to receive his high school diploma.“This means a lot to me and means a lot to my family,” Yuhas said. Yuhas was was drafted December 19, 1950. He served his country for two years. He says he thought about going back to school to earn his diploma, but life had other plans.

John G. Gbur and his twin brother, Charles, left school in during their sophomore year in 1950 to join the Navy. “I went from high school to boot camp, to machinist school to an aircraft carrier — The Franklin D. Roosevelt,” he said. “I was a machinist in one of four engine rooms. I had the throttles.”

Charles served on the USS Canyon, but unfortunately passed away some 15 years ago.

“After all the graduates got their diplomas, we stepped forward, picked up our diplomas and stepped back,” Gbur said while examining the diploma that bears the high school’s name in gold letters. “It took me 65 years to get it.”

He keeps the diploma in a white envelope right next to his recliner.

“I think it’s a nice thing to do for veterans,” Gbur said. “I appreciate it.”

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Vets Receive Honorary Diplomas: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory