Friday was the annual award ceremony for the Junior ROTC program at Sale Creek High School. But, the students weren't the only ones being recognized.
Former Sergeant First Class William Gothard is 93 years old. He survived World War II and is now battling bone cancer. But that isn't stopping him from influencing the future generation of American heroes.
In a crowd full of men and women one stood out among the rest.
“I spent three years in the army fighting in Omaha Beach,” said Gothard.
William Gothard went to Sale Creek High. He was enlisted in the United States Army his senior year of high school. On Friday, the junior ROTC program presented an award in his honor.
“I appreciate the honors, after 70 years, something like that,” said Gothard.
Freshman Jacob Bieber won the William Gothard Award, a treasure he said he will cherish forever.
“It is an awesome award, I wasn't expecting it at all. I'm glad I got it, It was an honor,” said Bieber.
It was the first time Bieber and Gothard ever met. A member of the greatest generation inspiring the next generation of military men and women.
“Relate stories with WWII and what he had to deal with when he was in the European theatre. The award says itself, it’s about perseverance, true grit, making things happen,” said David Storey.
It was a night of celebration and honoring those who serve. Mr. Gothard shared his advice to students looking to follow in his footsteps.
“Not using tobacco, don't use drugs; don't use whiskey or alcohol, and keep your life straight,” Gothard advised.
Sale Creek High plans to honor students each year in William Gothard's name.