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'If you want to do it, you can do it': 22-year Navy veteran in Kentucky receives high school diploma

Posted at 10:57 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 08:40:23-05

DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Some might say it's never too late to go back to school.

Danny Duncan served 22 years in the Navy but still wants to give back in other ways. Before he could take on the next chapter of his life, he had to check a pretty big item off his bucket list.

Duncan visited nearly 40 countries during his military career.

"Built a chapel over there for the Marines," he said. "We built, you name it, anything that anybody wanted."

Long before that, his roots started here in central Kentucky.

"I was born and raised in Boyle County," he said. "I was in Boyle County, and it has changed."

He went to Parksville High School in the 1960s. It doesn't exist anymore. Before that school closed, he had different ideas for his future.

"I said no, I think I'll go into the Navy," he recalls telling his dad. "Dad said 'Well, if that's what you want, go for it!'"

Duncan has the medals, but there was something else missing. Until Monday when he turned the page to his next chapter earning his high school diploma.

"Lord can take your last breath," Duncan said. "He gave you your first one. So he can take your last one. You don't know when. But if you get into it and start studying stuff, he might say ok, let's prolong his life a little bit."

Boyle County High School principal Mark Wade takes note.

"If every student knew about this, I think they'd say what, that's pretty cool," Wade said. "That no matter what age, no matter what you went through, you can always pursue your dreams."

Even after 22 years of serving in the Navy and in Vietnam, Duncan isn't finished. He's still finding ways to serve.

"I wanted to find something where I could really help people," he told LEX 18. "I think if I have enough time, if the Lord lets me live, I could go through and be a chaplain."

"There's no ending time of when you're here on this Earth to do whatever you want to do. If you want to do it, you can do it."

Even at 74 years old, going on 75, Duncan's story is far from over. Now that he has his diploma, he plans to study Theology at Campbellsville University.