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Andy Post, a member of the Class of 1966, was given the opportunity to walk with the class of 2014 on Friday

by: KEVIN SPERL - Andy Post, Class of 1966, took part in the Class of 2014 graduation at Ward Rhoden Stadium Friday night.

Andy Post walked with the class of 2014 last Friday night, receiving his diploma from Crook County High School, a mere 49 years after leaving Prineville to join the war effort in Vietnam.

“After finishing my junior year, I decided to join the Navy, and was sent to boot camp in San Diego,” said Post. “I was quickly deployed to Vietnam in October of 1965 and completed five tours of duty, ending my service in 1968 as an Aviation Ordinance 3rd class.”

Post’s daughter, Andie Johnson, had decided that her dad needed to have his diploma, and in February of this year surprised him with the idea on his birthday.

“She had called me to ask if I had any of my military records,” said Post. “She told me that her husband, who is now in college for a business degree, needed the documentation for a project.”

But, it was all a ruse so she could send the information to Crook County for approval, whose response was immediate.

“They gave me three choices,” explained Post, who completed his GED requirements while in the service. “I could just come in and pick it up, be presented the diploma at a school assembly, or walk with the graduating class of 2014.”

It wasn’t really up to Post, as his family insisted that he attend the actual graduation ceremony.

Crook County High School Principal Michelle Jonas said that she was contacted by Post’s daughter and was excited to include him as a part of graduation.

“We have a school board policy that allows veterans to participate as honorary diploma recipients,” said Jonas. “Along with Superintendent Yecha, we arranged everything with his daughter to make this happen.”

Jonas said that Post will walk as the first graduate into the stadium, escorted by members of the high school’s NJROTC unit. When Post is called to the stage for his diploma, Jonas will provide a brief explanation to those in attendance to recognize his accomplishment.

“He has earned a place at our graduation and we are excited for him to take part,” said Jonas.

As a Prineville student, Post attended Ochoco Elementary, then middle school at the current Crooked River and Cecil Sly buildings, and finally high school at what is now the middle school.

After leaving the Navy, Post returned to Prineville, working for his father, Herb Post, who was Prineville’s building inspector.

Post later signed up for the National Guard and worked as a deputy in the Tillamook sheriff’s office, before embarking on a 10-year construction career. Post retired in 2010, at the age of 62 and now lives with his wife, Karen, in Randle, Wash.

“He was my buddy in high school,” said Karen (Shoemaker), adding that they finally got around to getting married a mere three years ago.

The couple was in the same grade all through school, had reconnected at a high school reunion, only to lose track of each other again.

“Andy found me on Facebook four years ago,” explained Karen, “I said, ‘Oh my God, Andy Post!’”

Post recalls teasing her, asking if she remembered the time they went out behind the high school and made out.

When she denied it, he admitted to making it up but told her he wished they had done so.

They’ve been married ever since.

Post wasn’t sure that getting involved with the class of 2014 was a good idea, especially for the students.

“Until today (last Thursday) I wasn’t sure that I should be doing this,” he said. “At practice, they called my name and the students started yelling, screaming and clapping. They also asked me to be in their class picture.”

While in town, the Posts are catching up with family and friends.

“I visited with my best friend in high school, Judi McNeill (Driscoll), whom I haven’t seen in 49 years,” said Karen.

Karen’s daughter Shelli Larimer, and her son Brett Bernard, both live in Prineville. Andy’s daughter LiAndra (Andi) lives in Redmond, while his son Joe lives in Terrebonne. They will all get together for a family party on Saturday.

When asked, as most graduating seniors are, what he plans to do with his life after graduation, Post was quick to reply, “I am going fishing!”

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