Hometown Hero - Russ Rothgeb

Published 09/03 2013 02:36PM

Updated 09/03 2013 02:46PM

We are honoring Russ Rothgeb who joined the Army back in 1953 at age 17.

He was just shy of graduating from Hoagland High School and now nearly 60 years later, Russ finally was awarded his high school diploma.

For him, it was worth the wait.

"It's kind of like a dream come true, a lifelong dream come true. I joined the Army before I graduated from high school.  The Korean War was still going on and I wanted to fight for my country.  They needed soldiers.  They needed military people and fighting for freedom seemed like the thing to do."

WFFT asked Russ if he could go back and do it again, would he?  He replied, "I think so, I even have urges sometimes to rejoin now."

There was always something missing though and now nearly 60 years later, Russ finally has what he's long awaited.

"I have been so disappointed with myself and so ashamed for not graduating.  That has tortured me a lot over the years."

WFFT then asked Russ what his family thinks of all this to which he replied with, "To be honest, they don't even know.  I know they'll be full of joy and congratulations."

With a smile on his face and pride filling every inch of his body, Russ is proof that it's never too late to make your dream a reality.

"You're never too old to stop learning.  You're never too old to stop being productive and being helpful.  I think you should do that as long as you live."

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