WWII veteran receives high school diploma after 70 years

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) –  World War II veteran Walter Worland has waited more than 70 years to receive his high school diploma and on Saturday, that dream came true.

“Life just goes on and you just put things off, and this was one of them,” said Worland.

Worland received his honorary diploma at the Greenfield Central High School graduation on Saturday morning. Worland opted to enlist in the military, instead of graduating with his high school class in 1942. Since then, he’s dedicated his life to serve his country and community.

“At 91, you run out of time,” said Worland.

Worland established a scholarship program for Hancock County seniors and funded the junior high school’s library. He also volunteers for countless local organizations.

“If it’s something he can do, he’s not afraid or shy to step up to the plate,” said Worland’s goddaughter, Debbie Wilkerson.

Worland said Saturday’s experience was far more than he ever could have expected.

“It felt so good that I had so many friends that came out for me. I think friendship is the best thing, that keeps you going,” said Worland.

“There is not a kinder, more thoughtful, loyal, patriotic person that I have ever known,” said Wilkerson.

Worland doesn’t ask for thanks, but hopes others will become more involved in their community.

“I’ve been very fortunate. So I have a lot to share. So many people out there that could share more,” said Worland.

He hopes his fellow 2014 graduates will carry on his legacy of service.

“To the students I always laugh and say I don’t think I’ll be at our 50th anniversary reunion,” said Worland.

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