Monday, November 19, 2001

Vet, 75, to get diploma

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        MASON — After Tuesday night, World War II veteran William Trice will finally be able to place his photograph alongside those of his grandchildren on his basement wall. Mr. Trice, a retired Procter & Gamble supervisor, will receive his high school diploma Tuesday, 57 years after leaving Western Hills High School as a junior to enlist in the Navy.

        Mr. Trice, 75, has created a basement gallery to showcase the high-school graduation pictures of his grandchildren.

  To apply for a diploma, World War II veterans should contact their county Veterans Service Office. They will need a copy of their DD 214 discharge papers and must fill out a one-page form.
        Mason High School will give Mr. Trice his diploma Tueday at the Mason Board Of Education meeting, thanks to House Bill 77. Signed into law by Gov. Bob Taft in July, the legislation allows World War II veterans who left high school to go to war to get their diplomas.

        House Bill 77 was written and sponsored by Rep. Nancy Hollister, R-Marietta.

        A member of the American Legion Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mr. Trice said he was excited to enlist. Since then, however, there are times he regretted leaving school.

        “At the time I thought it was the right, gung-ho thing to do,” Mr. Trice said. “I was tremendously proud.”

        To receive an Ohio diploma, the World War II veteran must:

        • Live in Ohio.

        • Have attended an Ohio high school.

        • Have been honorably discharged from the military.

        About 20 other states have enacted similar legislation, with minor variations under the moniker “Operation Recognition.”

        “This is not an honorary diploma,” said Zach Haugh awout, legislative aide to said Ms. Hollister. “It is an actual diploma.”

        Ms. Hollister would like to amend HB77, which was based on a Massachusetts bill, to change the Ohio residency requirement and the rules about the applicant receiving an honorable discharge. A veteran can be discharged with honorable conditions without receiving an actual honorable discharge.

        Only WWII veterans may apply. Mr. Haughawout said, because the Department of Education had concerns about extending the honorary but valid diploma to younger veterans.

        Father of four, grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather to 11, Mr. Trice enlisted in the Navy in 1944. A fireman first class electri cian striker, he was stationed aboard ships in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific oceans.

        After returning to the United States in 1946, Mr. Trice married Mary June Nordhoff in May 1947. He also embarked on a 36-year career at P&G.

        “I've wanted (a diploma) all my life,” Mr. Trice said, “but after I got out of the service, there just wasn't time.”


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