NBC – More than 50 years after leaving college to serve in the Navy, a Vietnam veteran has earned his diploma alongside his grandson.
Robert “Johnny” Hays attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana from 1962-1966 but left school to serve in the U.S. Navy from 1966-1972.
His daughter Kristy Hays Koch found out he qualified for an associate degree through Project Win-Win, a national initiative in which a college audit determines if a student or former student has accumulated enough requirements for an associate degree, and she submitted his application.
“It’s surreal. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be doing this. It’s something that dreams are made of,” Hays said.
The best part was he graduated at the same time as his grandson Colby Cranford.
“It’s very interesting to say the least. We never thought we would have the opportunity to do this and people typically don’t. So it’s a blessing to be able to do this together,” Cranford said.
After he retired from the Navy, Hays worked for 28 years as a precision tool and die make for the maintenance department at the General Motors Shreveport plant.
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