Operation Recognition: Vietnam War veteran receives diploma

two high school students gaze upon war medals held by a veteran

Vietnam War veteran Corporal Theodore Darrow received his high school diploma from Fonda-Fultonville on Thursday in an emotional ceremony with his family, friends, Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio and members of the high school Key Club.

“Fonda-Fultonville is proud to be the district that awards Corporal Darrow with his high school diploma,” Ciaccio said. “We are humbled and inspired by his sacrifices. It was an honor to award his diploma to him in front of his family and friends.”

Darrow was also presented with war medals that he had never received after he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. Montgomery County Veterans Service Agency Director Patricia Prill sought out the medals for Darrow upon coordinating the request for his diploma from Fonda-Fultonville.

“Theodore Darrow joined the service of the Marine Corps at 17. He felt the need to serve his country and to protect our freedom,” Prill said. “Thank you for who you are, and what you’ve done for our country. We cherish everything you’ve done for the community, and all you’ve done while you were in the military.”

Prill said the medals she presented to Darrow were ones he was entitled to but never received after being honorably discharged. They include the National Defense Service Medal, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. Darrow was also the recipient of foreign awards including the Vietnam Campaign Medal and Republic of Vietnam Meritous Unit Citation.

Operation Recognition recognizes the devotion and sacrifice of World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam-era veterans who left school early. Diplomas can be presented by any NYS public high school, regardless of which high school the veteran attended.

To be eligible, a veteran must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a New York state resident.
  • Engaged in active duty service for at least one day during one of the following wartime periods:
    • World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
    • Korea: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
    • Vietnam: May 1, 1961 – April 30, 1975
  • Received a satisfactory discharge from military service.

Candidates must submit evidence of service. Such documentation may include discharge papers or other such documents or a letter from a recognized veteran agency affirming such service. Candidates do not need to show evidence of attendance at a school in New York state. They need only affirm in writing that they do not possess a high school diploma. Candidates possessing a High School Equivalency (or GED) diploma are eligible for the program. Diplomas may be awarded to next of kin, if eligibility is established.

Community members interested in participating in Operation Recognition through the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District are encouraged to contact the Office of the Superintendent at 853-4415 ext. 8.