JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown School Board on Wednesday awarded Jamestown resident and Vietnam veteran Timothy Pickett with a high school diploma, 50 years after he was to graduate from Jamestown High School.
Pickett left school early in October 1968 at the age of 17 so he could join the U.S. Marine Corps, after his parents gave their permission for him to enlist. Picket said receiving the diploma was something he’s been looking forward to for a long time. He also explained why it was important for him to leave school and join the military.
“Fifty years ago – and a few months – I quit. I did quit because I wanted to join the military because I’m a patriot, always have been always will be. But I also wanted to join to help our military because of the way they were treated back in the 60s,” Pickett said. “It wasn’t pretty. We were scoffed at. We were stoned. We were spit on. And I didn’t like our military being treated like that. So I wanted to join the military at that time because it meant something to me, to be for my country.”
Pickett’s high school diploma was made possible through the Federal Operation Recognition program, which is a program that honors veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam by granting them high school diplomas.
Pickett earned his GED while in service and also graduated from Jamestown Community College in 1977 with a science degree before continuing his education at SUNY College of environmental Science & Forestry in Syracuse, eventually earning a forestry degree. He also worked for both Forecon and as the Animal Control Officer for Jamestown Police Department for 23 years.
Joining him in accepting the diploma was his wife Paula, his mother Eva, and son John.