CLAY COUNTY, W.Va. — It’s never too late to get your high school diploma.

That’s what 99-year-old World War II veteran Charles “Birdy” Edward Bird gets to do Friday at Clay County High School.

Through a joint effort with the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) and the West Virginia Veterans’ Council, per WVBE Policy 4355, Operation Recognition Program (ORP) gives veterans with honorable service in World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam Conflict the opportunity to receive their high school diploma.

Bird was 18 years old when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during WWII in June of 1943. He never got a chance to graduate high school. Bird will receive his high school diploma from Clay County Schools Superintendent Phil Dobbins during an assembly at Clay County High School Friday morning.

“We could not be more honored to provide Mr. Bird with a diploma that he has earned,” Dobbins said.

According to Dobbins, Bird can’t wait to become a high school graduate.

“He is very pleased about this and excited,” said Dobbins.

Bird served in the 131st AAA Gun Battalion of the U.S. Army as a Technician Fifth Grade (WWII equivalent of Corporal) until 1946. He is one of four remaining WWII veterans in Clay County.

Dobbins, who has spent 33 years working in Clay County, with a majority of those years at Clay County High School, said the students are also looking forward to celebrating the occasion with “Birdy.” They will be on hand during the assembly in the school’s gymnasium.

“I’ve worked in Clay County my entire professional career and the two most important events of the year would be the veterans program and graduation and this is a combination of the two,” Dobbins said.

Friday’s keynote speaker will be former member of the The United States Marine Corps Walter Hatfield who currently works at the CMI2 facility in Clay County.