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90-year-old Michigan veteran receives honorary high school diploma

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(CBS DETROIT) - A 90-year-old veteran checked something off his bucket list this week, thanks to the help of a Michigan high school. 

Bob Bonhomme, of Portage, left St. Augustine High School in Kalamazoo at 19 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and he never earned his diploma, according to Portage Public Schools

He served in the Korean War for 14 months before returning home to work at the papermill for more than 40 years to support his family. 

Bonhomme got married, raised his kids in Portage, and told the school district, "Life just always got in the way," so he never returned to get his diploma, even though he's thought about it over the years.

Instead, he spent several years being his wife's caretaker before she died 11 years ago. 

One day, at one of their weekly breakfast dates, Bonhomme's daughter-in-law, Diane Bonhomme, she asked him what was on his bucket list. 

He told her he wished he had graduated high school and gone to prom, according to the school district. 

So, she contacted Portage Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bielang to make his dreams happen.

"I saw the desire in his eyes when he talked about it," Diane told Portage Public Schools. "Before his life was over, I wanted to make sure he got to enjoy and do those things."  

At the school district's Board of Education meeting on Monday, Bielang honored Bonhomme for his service and his life in Portage and gave him a diploma. 

"Just because he never graduated high school doesn't mean that he wasn't smart," Diane said to the school district. "Doing the job of working at a papermill for over four decades – while technology was constantly changing – would teach someone great skills.

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