Madison County veteran finally gets high school diploma after 53-year wait

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)-- A Navy veteran from Madison County finally has his high school diploma after 53 years of waiting.

Madison County Schools Superintendent Matt Massey presented Junior Ray Stone with his Buckhorn High School diploma Friday night. The ceremony was on the field, right before Friday's football game against Hazel Green.

Stone would have graduated in 1962, but he enlisted in the Navy instead. He tells us he is very proud of his service, and after an honorable discharge he returned home to get a GED from Alabama A&M University. He says he worked several jobs, including driving an ambulance and working as a police officer. But he always wondered about his diploma.

School officials say Stone saw a previous news story about a Huntsville veteran getting his diploma and wanted to take advantage of the same program.

Stone tells WHNT News 19 that finally getting his diploma was a proud moment.

"I don't know how to say it, I don't know what to say," he said. "I've worked at everything I've wanted to all my life, it's just good to have it to frame it and put it up at the house."

Stone says the Buckhorn High School of today is a lot different than when he used to go there. He's so happy to have shared the big moment with a crowd of his family and friends on the field with him.