Crook County

48 years late, Prineville vet's diploma no less sweet

Daughter makes graduation dream come true

Prineville Vietnam vet finally graduates

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Andrew Post is many things. He is a Prineville native, a veteran, a father, a carpenter and more. One thing he was not: A high school graduate. Until Friday night.

"I was born in Prineville, Oregon, but I grew up in Vietnam," Post said.

Instead of going to high school his senior year, Post enlisted in the Navy. He said he was having trouble and looking for a place to escape. That place, for him, was Vietnam.  

"I went through the school of hard knocks," Post said, "But I did learn."

On Friday, nearly 50 years later than his classmates, Post finally got his diploma.

It's all because of his family.

"I e-mailed the superintendent," said Andi Johnson, Post's daughter, sitting beside her dad as he wore his blue cap and gown.

She had been hoping she could just somehow get a copy of his diploma.

The superintendent had other ideas, though: He wanted to make Post an honorary graduate of the Class of 1966, the year he would have graduated.

Johnson was given the option of a school assembly or graduation for her father. She couldn't keep it a secret any more.

"I finally decided I had to tell him what was going on." Johnson said.

So she called him.

"My words were, 'I hope I'm not in trouble, but I did something,'" Johnson said with a laugh "And I told him, and there was silence."

"I cried," Post said.

Post's daughter said it was an emotional phone call for them both. It was also a phone call Post never expected he would get.

"After 66 years, you give up," Post said.

He might have given up, but his family didn't. They gave him the opportunity to finish something he started long ago.

"He said, 'I want to walk (for graduation),'" Johnson said.

He walked with the Class of 2014, becoming an honorary graduate of the Class of 1966.

Even after making it home from five tours in Vietnam, Post said this day was one of his best.  

"It's one of the greatest days of my life," he said.

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