MARYVILLE (WATE) – A veteran from Blount County finally received his high school diploma 61 years after leaving high school to serve in the Korean War. Charles Dossett spent those years thinking he would never have that piece of paper in hand.
“I just worked out of town a lot and moved out of town and then they done away with Everett High School and I just put it up and forgot about it,” he said.
He was scheduled to graduate from Everett High School in Maryville in 1952, but in 1951 Dossett left high school to serve his country during the Korean War. Three years later while on active duty Dossett passed a GED test but was never awarded a diploma.
“If I had to take that test today I’m sure I’d fail it,” he joked.
More than six decades later the Blount County Veterans Affairs Office helped Dossett cross the stage.
“It’s very special because it shows his family and the community that education is very important,” said Nathan Weinbaum, Director of Blount County Veterans Affairs.
The state has a program helping veterans like Dossett be awarded for their efforts and recognized for their sacrifice. The state’s program helps veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War receive their diplomas.
The Blount County Veterans Affairs Office has helped three so far.
“He put his country first back in 1951,” said Weinbaum.
Dossett and his family say it is a moment they will never forget.
“We’re all really proud of him because it has been a long time, and I think he was like the oldest one, so it’s pretty cool,” said one of his granddaughters.
Dossett says he is happy to have the support of his whole family.