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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin Vietnam War veteran has received an honorary high school diploma decades after attending high school.

More than 30 people gathered at Fill-Inn Station in Chippewa Falls Wednesday to honor 67-year-old Mike Hebert, The Chippewa Herald reported .

“Never done anything like this before,” Hebert said as he waved his diploma.

Hebert didn’t graduate from Chippewa Falls Senior High School because he enlisted in the Marines when he was a freshman in 1967. He spent two tours in Vietnam before returning to Chippewa Falls in 1971 to work at Berry Plastics.

Wayne Steinmetz, an old friend and fellow veteran, began working on getting Hebert an honorary diploma last year. Steinmetz said many veterans who joined the military and left the education system didn’t do so because they wanted to quit school, but because they wanted to serve their country.

“The school district has a program . if veterans left school to enter the military, served honorably and are older than 65, the board will review their military records, make a decision and award them a diploma,” Steinmetz said.

The Chippewa Falls school board approved granting Hebert an honorary degree last year.

Wednesday’s ceremony was meant to honor all Vietnam veterans, Steinmetz said.

“What a caring school district we have,” he said. “I’m a lifelong resident of Chippewa, and it makes me proud.”

The district will work to honor other veterans in similar situations, said Heidi Taylor-Eliopoulos, Chippewa Falls schools superintendent.


Information from: The Chippewa Herald,