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Sixty-Four Years Later, Korean War Veteran Will Don High School Cap and Gown

May 12, 2017

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tanya Arja
Office of Communications

Tampa, Fla. – (May 12, 2017) – A high school diploma is something Marty Sullivan thought had passed him by. But at the age of 83, this Korean War Veteran will don a cap and gown, and stand with the members of the Joe E. Newsome High School Class of 2017 as proud supporters cheer on graduation day.

He was not able to finish high school in Boston because as a junior in 1951 he decided to sign up for the Korean War. Jobs, a family, and a retirement move to Hillsborough County followed in the years after he left the service. It was through his work as a volunteer at the Hillsborough County Veterans Park and at the Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum that he learned that he qualified for a high school diploma.

Hillsborough County Consumer & Veterans Services staff helped him with the paperwork, but one thing was missing: the pomp and circumstance that only a graduation ceremony on a grand scale can deliver. So Consumer & Veterans Services staff contacted Hillsborough County Public Schools. Employees and students at Newsome High School enthusiastically signed on.

WHAT: Korean War veteran will walk alongside Newsome High School Class of 2017 graduates
WHEN: Friday, May 19 at 9 a.m.
WHERE: Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall, 4800 N. U.S. Highway 301 in Tampa

The State of Florida offers a standard high school diploma to any eligible, honorably discharged military veteran who left high school in order to serve our nation’s armed forces. Family members may also apply for a diploma posthumously. For information or assistance in obtaining this or other military benefits available through Hillsborough County Consumer & Veterans Services, go to, or call (813) 635-8316.

For interviews with Sullivan, as well as Hillsborough County Consumer & Veterans Services staff, call Michelle Van Dyke at (813) 272-5305 or (813) 352-2962, or email To make arrangements to attend the graduation ceremony, call Tanya Arja at (813) 272-4060, or email



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