State, Counties Begin Honoring War Veterans

September 21, 2000

James Miller, a World War II Navy veteran, will receive his high school diploma on Monday, September 25, at the Hampshire County School Board Office in Romney (46 South High Street), in a ceremony starting at 6:30 p.m.  

Miller will receive his diploma as a result of House Bill 4078, which was approved during the 2000 General Session and signed into law by Governor Cecil H. Underwood. The new law provides honorably discharged West Virginia veterans who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Conflict with the opportunity to receive high school diplomas in recognition of service to their country. Up to 30,000 West Virginia veterans may be eligible to receive diplomas as part of this program.  

At Monday?s ceremony -- the first in the state by a local school board to honor a war veteran with a high school diploma -- several state and county dignitaries are scheduled to appear.  

They include: Delegate Jerry L. Mezzatesta; Dr. David Stewart, State Superintendent of Schools; Gail Harper, Director of the Division of Veterans Affairs for the State of West Virginia; Ada Henderson, State Commander for the American Legion; Norf Nelson, State Adjutant Quartermaster for the Veterans of Foreign Wars; Gerald A. Mathias, Hampshire County Superintendent of Schools; and Cynthia Smith, President of the Hampshire County Board of Education.  

Following Monday?s ceremony, refreshments will be served at the Taggert Hill Museum and Visitor?s Center (across the street from the Board office in Romney).  

?We?re very proud to honor those veterans who protected the freedoms enjoyed by all of us today," Dr. Stewart said. "Many veterans dropped out of school to serve their country. We?re honoring and recognizing West Virginia veterans for their distinguished and honorable service to America.?  

According to Harper, eligible veterans who have not attained a diploma may receive an application form at any of the 16 Division of Veterans Affairs field offices located throughout the state. Veterans may also call the Division of Veterans Affairs toll free at 1-888-838-2332 to receive an application form or for more information.  

?Diplomas will be awarded by the local county board where the veteran resides or the county where the veteran would have received his or her diploma,? he said. ?Applications will be reviewed by my office to ensure that veterans were honorably discharged and served during the wars or conflicts.?

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