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World War II veteran awarded Pennsylvania high school diploma 2 days before his death at age 98

Vet fulfills dying wish to get high school diploma
School official helps veteran fulfill dying wish to receive high school diploma 02:31

Poolesville, Maryland — At a ceremony in Poolesville, Maryland, earlier this month, American Legion Post 247 paid special tribute to one of its own, the late Gunnery Sgt. Richard Remp.

"He was a Marine," friend Julien Singh said. "He was most proud of being a Marine."

Remp, who everyone called Gunny, quit high school his senior year to serve in World War II, and stayed in the Marines through the Vietnam War. Friends Julien Singh and James Cappuccilli say he was highly decorated.

Despite all his extraordinary accomplishments, there was still one thing left for Remp to do: receive his high school diploma.   

"That was his sort of farewell wish," Singh said.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania law allows any honorably discharged veteran of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War to receive an honorary high school diploma. Unfortunately, it takes time, and Remp had just days to live. 

Nevertheless, his friends, in desperation, reached out to school officials in his hometown of Sharon, Pennsylvania.

Sharon City School District Superintendent Justi Glaros took the call.

"I have a lot of passion for the men and women that serve our country, and just everything inside of me said, 'Yes, go, do it,'" Glaros told CBS News.

She expedited the request, and then went the extra mile, or more like the extra 550 miles, driving nearly five hours each way to hand-deliver his diploma to Remp at his home.

"It was overwhelming," Glaros said. "And I knew that he had been weak, but in that moment he wasn't. He was all in." 

Remp died May 19 at the age of 98, just two days after receiving his diploma. 

"The last thing he really remembered was getting that high school diploma from Justi," Singh said. 

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