The Mesquite Independent School District presented a diploma to an 88-year-old World War II veteran who joined the Marines before graduating high school.
Jack “Cotton” Futrell had just completed his junior year at Mesquite High School in 1943 when he joined the Marines. He was sent to Okinawa, Japan, during World War II.
While his peers were walking the stage at graduation a year later, Futrell was serving as a flame thrower operator. His heroic actions earned him the Silver Star.
His family recently learned of Mesquite ISD’s program to award honorary diplomas to veterans who did not receive one because of their service.
Futrell’s daughter and nephew and their families drove him from Austin to the Mesquite ISD Board meeting on Monday to accept his diploma.
His recognition was the first item on the agenda. Futrell received a standing ovation and told the board once he received his diploma, “Thank you. A long time getting here though.”
He said he wanted to receive his diploma for his family and wished they could all be there with him.