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NEWBURY, OH — Elmer Saben volunteered for war before he was old enough to graduate from high school.

That was 70 years ago. When the nation called, he went off to fight in the Pacific during World War II.

Elmer never received his Orange High School diploma, that is, until Sunday.

“All the representatives from Orange Schools thank you for coming out,” Elmer’s granddaughter told the crowd gathered at the Grace Evangelical Church.

The President of the Board of Orange Schools presented Elmer with his diploma. He took it and looked at it intently as people applauded.

“It took 70 years,” he said.

Yes, it did. But Elmer, whose health is not the best, lived to see the day he could be called a graduate.

He was already a hero to his family, his friends and his nation.