PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) A World War II veteran with ties to the Mid-Ohio Valley passed away.
Tuesday, Eugene McPherson died at the age of 91. He joined the Army in 1942 before he could graduate high school.
He was part of the 325th Medical Battalion, Company C, as a medical technician. He served in both Germany and France and was awarded the Bronze Star medal.
When he came back to the United States, he got a job at DuPont.
What's extra special about McPherson is that he was able to get his diploma from Parkersburg High School in September 2016.
He was from Washington, West Virginia.
Clement Dowler spent three years of World War II serving in the Army Air Corps, including five months he was missing in action when his B-17 bomber was shot down over France.
He joined the Army in December, 1942, before he could graduate high school
"Even though I wanted to go to college, I had to go to work and take care of the family at that time," Dowler said of the years after the war. "For 50 years, when I wrote a resume, I said I attended Parkersburg HIgh School."
At the same time Eugene McPherson served in an Army medical company. Both men were able to get jobs back then, without graduating.
"I had an odd job or two," McPherson recalls. "I got on construction at DuPont, and eventually got on in production. They wanted me to get my diploma so I could become a foreman. But I was really pretty happy with the job I had."
Both Dowler and McPherson got their long-awaited diplomas at Tuesday night's Wood County Board of Education meeting. They come through a program from the Office of Veterans Affairs.
Aside from graduating form high school and college, Dowler has a message for today's students: learn more about the war both men fought to save the world.
"Not only the loss of lives, but the cost for our country to bear," Dowler says. "But the lives is the most important thing. Study that history, and you'll understand our freedom isn't cheap."
PHS Principal Pam Goots says the honorary degrees have been given to war veterans before, but they've usually been from the Vietnam era or later.