Today was a special day at John Deere Middle School in Moline. Sgt. John Baker was awarded his high school diploma, six months after his death.
“As a response from his fellow Vietnam veterans, the board of education is proud to award a Moline High School diploma to John Baker posthumously,” the school board president says as she hands the diploma to his sister, Gloria Helrich.
John F. Baker attended Moline High School in 1963-65. He then left before graduating to serve in the United States Army during the Vietnam War where he earned the prestigious Medal of Honor. But because he hadn’t officially graduated high school he was denied entry in the school’s Hall of Honor in 2004 by that school board.
A situation that according to his family was hard for him to handle. His sister says, “John is such a wonderful generous person. I am sure he would be gracious in accepting this but in his heart I am not sure if he wouldn’t still have very hurt feelings.”
His sister says she graciously accepts his award but accepting it without him isn’t easy.
“We were proud of him.”