(By Sabrina Westfall) [Order this photo]
Hubert "Herb" Pitcher dropped out of New Pleasantville High School prior to receiving his high school diploma in 1950 to serve in the Army during the Korean War in France.
He spent three years in France working as a cook for the soldiers, and when he came home he never went back to get his high school diploma.
He served in France until 1953, at which time he came back to Indiana and worked as an operating engineer.
Although, Pitcher's time as a cook in the Army inspired his love for making meals, and he came to Linton to open the restaurant Mr. Smorgasbord, located on County Road 250N, two miles north of Linton.
Pitcher said he did a lot of cooking in the Army to ensure all the soldiers were properly nourished, and noted a specific memory.
"I remember one time I had 15 turkeys (to cook)," Pitcher recalled.
At 84-years-old, Pitcher still had not been able to acquire his high school diploma, and deteriorating health had sent him to Miller's Mary Manor, a nursing home in Sullivan.
Pitcher's granddaughter, Joie Gadberry, saw an advertisement on television where the Indiana Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) was offering high school diplomas to veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean, and Vietnam wars.
"I believe all veterans are deserving of this because they made so many sacrifices to maintain our freedom," Gadberry, a Linton-Stockton High School senior, explained.
With the help Sullivan WorkOne employee Beth Myers, Gadberry was able to attain all the necessary information for her grandfather to receive his high school diploma -- including his discharge papers.
The diploma was awarded to Pitcher at the Southwest School Board meeting in Sullivan on Wednesday evening.
Once the diploma was issued, Gadberry gave her grandfather a high five and exclaimed, "Woo hoo! Seniors 2013!"
Gadberry said she and her cousins had always been close to Pitcher, and spent much of their childhood at his house.
She said she was pleased to share the time in her life with her grandfather as she also nears getting a diploma.
Pitcher's three daughters -- Jackie Haddix, Terry Hadley and Cheri Slover -- were emotional as their father finally received the diploma they said he deserved.
"All of his children have graduated college. He made that possible. He sacrificed so much for all of his daughters. When we were growing up it wasn't a question about 'Are you going to college?', it was 'Where are you going to college?' " Haddix explained.
Hadley said she was glad her niece had learned about the program, and all veterans deserve a high school diploma.
Slover added her father was very deserving of the honor.
Congratulatory cards can be sent to Hubert O. Pitcher c/o Millers Mary Manor, 505 Wolfe St., Sullivan, Ind., 47882.
Gadberry now has a goal to help other local veterans to achieve dreams of getting a high school diploma through the program.
The IDVA diploma program is available to veterans who served in World War I between April 6, 1917 and Nov. 11, 1918; World War II between Dec. 7, 1941 and Dec. 31, 1946; Korean War between June 27, 1950 and Jan. 31, 1955; and Vietnam War between Aug. 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975.
The veterans must also have attended a public or nonpublic high school in Indiana prior to military service; been a student in good standing; not graduated or received a high school diploma because of leaving for military service; and been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States.
Local veterans or family members interested in obtaining help from Gadberry in getting a high school diploma for a veteran meeting the criteria can contact her at 847-3913.
Those interested can also visit www.in.gov/DVA, and click on the Veterans Benefits tab on the left side.