Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Pennsylvania School Official Fulfills Dying Marine’s Last Wish: His Diploma

A Pennsylvania superintendent teamed up with an American Legion commander to get a dying veteran's wish fulfilled: he wanted his high school diploma. Their efforts gave the veteran's final moments those of pride and joy as he was handed the honorary education he never received.

At Sharon School District in Pennsylvania, Superintendent Justi Glaros got a call from Legion Post 247. The caller, 247’s second vice commander, James Cappuccilli, explained that a marine who had given up higher education to fight in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, was hoping to receive an honorary diploma. The marine, Richard Remp from Sharon, but who then lived in Poolesville, MD, had watched when another elderly marine was presented with a diploma, and thought he might like to have one too. Glaros did some research and found out that it was a simple procedure provided that the veteran had fought in one of those three wars.

In the meantime, Remp suffered a fall, and when he was brought to the hospital it was discovered he had stage 4 prostate cancer that was aggressively attacking his liver. The prognosis was not much time. The school needed a month to fulfill the order for the honorary diploma, at which point Glaros jumped into action telling the school board the situation and got the go-ahead to print a diploma from their own high school.

“I’m blessed to be in the position to be able to do it for this man,” Glaros said. “The opportunity to give the diploma to him is what I wanted.”

It was an opportunity she had to hurry to take, driving four-and-a-half hours down to Remp’s home and delivering the diploma by hand as part of a graduation ceremony last weekend in the man’s living room. “The last thing he remembers is the fact that she came down and gave him the diploma,” American Legion Post 247 Commander Julian Singh said. “That was his last waking moment.”

Remp passed away Sunday at the age of 98. He had received a combat commendation ‘V’ for valor.


Photo: DNY59 / E+ / Getty Images

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