FARMINGTON — Vietnam veteran Charles “Charlie” Bennett of West Farmington got a surprise Tuesday night at the RSU 9 Board of Directors meeting.

He thought he was going to do a flag-folding demonstration with fellow American Legion members but instead he was presented with his high school diploma, bringing him to tears.

“He didn’t graduate from high school but tonight he does,” Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, said.

RSU 9 Superintendent Tom Ward presented Bennett with his diploma from the school in Farmington.

Bennett, 66, went to war as a member of the U.S. Army Infantry in 1967 and missed his graduation.

He is a well-known advocate for veterans at the local and state level.

Family, friends and American Legion members came into the room just before Bennett was recognized.

Bennett has given out American flags from the back of his truck in downtown Farmington for years. He also stands proud holding a U.S. flag with fellow veterans at the Jay War Memorial.

He was recently named president of the New England Chapter of the National 4th Infantry, the same branch he served with in Vietnam.

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