For 87 years, Wineferd Herman Allison has preferred his childhood nick name, "Dude," over his given name.
"I go by Wineferd "Dude" Allison. I carry that "Dude" right along with me. Because that name Wineferd I just don't like it," said the Maryville native.
Even though the World World II veteran doesn't like his proper name, he always wanted to see it on a high school diploma.
His goal was cut short in 1945.
"Uncle Sam called me," Allison said. "I went into the service before I even graduated from high school."
He traded books at Maryville High School for an Army Military Police Uniform. He served in Korea at the end of World War II from April 1945 to December 1946.
He said he didn't give too much thought to his lack of diploma after the war. After all, he had his sweetheart, Wilma, waiting for him at home and a heating and air conditioning job lined up. But when his Veterans Service Officer, Nathan Weinbaum, told him state law says as a veteran can still earn one, he couldn't wait to get it.
Sixty-nine years after war interrupted his graduation, he got his diploma. In front of a crowded Maryville City Schools board of education meeting Monday, the director of schools presented him with a "World War II Veteran Honorary Diploma."
"We're so proud of Dude. He has earned this diploma 100%," said Weinbaum.
"I didn't expect all of this. It was a surprise to me. It is wonderful," he said as he thanked the crowd.
"He's worked hard and I just think he deserves it. And I'm real happy to see him get it," said Allison's wife, Wilma.
A state law passed in 2010 allows any World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War Veteran to receive a high school diploma if their education was interrupted by service. Visit http://www.state.tn.us/veteran/state_benifits/vet_diplomas.html to read how to apply.