77-year-old Korean War veteran receives Thompson High diploma

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When Jack Lacey receives his Thompson High School diploma at the Verizon Wireless Music Center May 27, he will do so nearly 60 years after he was drafted into the Army to fight in the Korean War.

Lacey, 77, will graduate under State Legislative Act 2004-549, which allows any honorably discharged veteran who served in the U.S. armed forces anytime between Dec. 7, 1941, and Jan. 31, 1946, or between June 27, 1950, and Jan. 31, 1955, to receive their diploma if their high school attendance was interrupted due to service.

Lacey attended THS from 1948-53, but was drafted in 1953 when he was 19 years old.

For 57 years, Lacey regretted not being able to earn his diploma, but that dream started to become a reality several months ago when he first learned about the legislative act.

“He asked my mother back in the summer about helping him get his diploma,” said Lacey’s son, Andy.

That process was derailed on Feb. 25 when Lacey’s wife, Myra Ann, passed away.

Andy said after his father grieved, he began talking again about getting his diploma.

“He really wanted his diploma,” Andy said. “He always regretted he didn’t have it.”

So, after Andy made a few phone calls and provided proof of Lacey’s honorable discharge and school records, his dream became a reality.

According to Lacey’s records, he never failed a class, but Andy said his father struggled in school due to missing a lot of classes following an eye injury.

Andy also said his father suffered from dyslexia, although it went undiagnosed for many years.

“Back then, they didn’t know about dyslexia,” Andy said.

Despite his dyslexia, eye injury and lack of a high school diploma, Lacey went on to lead a successful life in the farming industry in Shorter.

“He’s an extremely intelligent and accomplished man, but he just kind of had a chip on his shoulder about not having his diploma,” Andy said.

Lacey will wipe that chip away May 27 as his three children and six grandchildren will be on hand to watch him finally receive his diploma.

“He is excited,” Andy said. “It’s been a long time.”