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A long-awaited diploma

On Monday, Egan was presented with his diploma " the same diploma graduating high school seniors receive, according to John Noetzel, communications director for the South Colonie School District " by Board of Education President James Tim Ryan.

Egan said he plans to frame his diploma and hang it on the wall.

"We're so proud of him. He's really been through a lot," said daughter Nancy Lucarelli of Colonie.

Another daughter of Egan's, Susan Malewicz, also of Colonie, was at the ceremony as well.

Lucarelli said one of the greatest aspects of Egan's recognition is that he will be graduating in the same year as his youngest grandson, Dan Vardaro, 18, of Colonie.

"It's pretty cool that we're graduating in the same year," said Vardaro, who will be graduating from high school later this month.

When asked if he planned to celebrate his high school graduation the same way his grandfather planned to, "with coffee and dessert at Grandma's," Vardaro said probably not.

While Egan did not continue his education with college after he concluded his duties, he said, Vardaro said he does plan to attend college, though he is not yet sure of where and what he plans to major in.

Although Egan's high school graduation ceremony concluded at about 7:45 p.m. Monday evening, his name will be celebrated in the commencement ceremony this spring, along with hundreds of other graduates. According to Noetzel, Egan's name will appear in the program with special recognition for being part of the Operation Recognition program.

Noetzel said, "Technically, I guess, he's part of the class of 2008."

Members of the community who are either the next of kin or are interested in recommending their loved ones to the Operation Recognition program through the South Colonie School District are encouraged to call the Superintendent's Office at 869-3576.

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