MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- 87-year-old Wineferd Allison, who everyone calls "Dude," was 17 and a freshman at Maryville High School in 1945 when he was drafted to serve in World War II. He was stationed in Korea.
"Uncle Sam called me and I had to go to Korea. I stayed there for a year, so I didn't get to get my diploma," said Allison.
While in Korea, Allison served as a MP in the Army, guarding prisoners. He says Korea was a nice country with good people - he even made friends with a young boy there.
"He started hanging around with me and he could speak a little English and I helped him. Little bit and I taught him to speak English pretty good. And he turned out to be a little good boy," said Allison.
When he was discharged in 1946, Allison moved home and married Wilma - they'll celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this June. Allison became successful in the heating and air conditioning business, even owning his own company - all without ever earning his high school diploma.
But thanks to a 2010 law, veterans whose high school educations were interrupted by military service are able to receive their diplomas - and the Maryville City School Board presented Allison with his diploma during its meeting Monday night.
"I didn't expect that, I don't think I earned that - it just hit me all at once," said Allison.
But with a lifetime of experience and service to our country, the state and the school board say it's an honor well deserved.