Sunday, July 23, 2017

Vietnam Veteran's Dying Wish Granted, High School Diploma in His Hands

With dying wish, Vietnam veteran receives diploma from North Central High School

The Spokesman Review
Eli Francovich
July 20, 2017

In a back room of North Central High School on Wednesday, Steve Fisk gently draped a graduation gown over the hunched shoulders of 68-year-old Vietnam veteran Stephen Rieckers.
Frank Fuchs, North Central High School ASB president from last year, helps Stephen Rieckers fit his graduation cap before Rieckers received his honorary diploma, July 19, 2017. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Then Rieckers rolled his electric wheelchair onto the stage of North Central’s auditorium to receive the diploma he never got.

“To me it’s a valuable thing, because it’s something I’ve been after for a long time,” he said.

Rieckers should have graduated in 1969. Instead, he dropped out of high school at the end of his junior year to escape an abusive step-father. He then enlisted in the military and served two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter mechanic.
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