Veterans who left school early to fight our country’s wars receive diplomas

Veterans who received high school diplomas at the 2012 Riverside County Operation Recognition Ceremony on November 7 toss their hats in the air to celebrate. Back row: Virginia Hilligoss, accepting for Robert Williamson of Palm Springs (award made posthumously), Edward Ryan (Corona), Thomas Ploufe (La Quinta), Anastacia Panarites (Moreno Valley), James Olson (Palm Desert), George Marion (Thousand Palms), Front row: Justino Castillo (Thousand Palms), Herb Levine (Palm Desert), James Finch (Indio), Edward Barr (Lake Elsinore), Anthony Amoroso (Cathedral City), Edward Alfaro (Riverside).

Veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars were honored at the 2012 Riverside County Operation Recognition Ceremony on Nov. 7 where they received  high school diplomas they missed while serving their country.

“Each of these veterans sacrificed the completion of their formal public education in order to serve their county in its extreme hour of need,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenneth M. Young in bestowing the diplomas at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center. “We are pleased to carry out this tradition of honor today.”

The program is open to residents of Riverside County whose high school education was interrupted by military service in World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.

More than 200 veterans have received high school diplomas through the Riverside County Operation Recognition Program since 2007. The diplomas are awarded as a joint effort of the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Riverside County Board of Education, and the Riverside County Department of Veteran’s Services.

Veterans receiving diplomas at the ceremony include:

Edward Alfaro of Riverside, US Marines, Vietnam War.

Anthony John Amoroso of Cathedral City, US Marines, World War II and Korean War.

Edward Barr of Lake Elsinore, US Army, Vietnam War.

Leroy Burbidge of Lake Elsinore, US Army, Korean War.

Thomas Eugene Butler of Riverside, US Navy, Vietnam War.

Justino Castillo of Thousand Palms, US Army, World War II.

Harry J. Dillon of Cathedral City, US Navy, Vietnam War.

James N. Ellis of Palm Desert, US Navy, Vietnam War.

James Albert Finch of Indio, US Army, Vietnam War.

Irving G. Fowler of Riverside, US Air Force, World War II and Korean War.

Robert Ray Gooch Jr. of Lake Elsinore, US Marines, Vietnam War.

Herb Levine of Palm Desert, US Air Force, Korean War.

Donald George Marion of Thousand Palms, US Navy, Korean War.

James Verne Olson of Palm Desert, US Marines, Korean War.

Marvin Odell Pace of Hemet, US Navy, Vietnam War.

Anastacia P. Panarites of Moreno Valley, US National Guard, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, Military Sea Transportation Service, World War II and Korean War.

Thomas James Plouffe of La Quinta, US Navy, Vietnam War.

Michael Loren Rittenhouse of Indian Wells, US Marines, Vietnam War.

Robert Rodriguez of Riverside, US Army, Vietnam War.

Edward L. Ryan of Corona, US Army, Vietnam War.

Robert Irwin Stover of Cathedral City, US Army, Korean War.

Glenn C. Waggoner Jr. of Moreno Valley, US Army, Vietnam War.

Robert Lee Williamson of Palm Springs, US Navy, World War II.