Byron Center veteran earns homecoming's highest honor

BYRON CENTER, Mich. (WOOD) — Clarence Newcomb retired in May 2018 from his position as a custodian at Byron Center High School. He is a veteran who joined the Army in 1976 and served his time in Hawaii preparing to fight for our country.

Newcomb never saw battle, but was ready for it if the need arose.

After he got out, he didn’t always feel an appreciation for what he had done.

“People would look at me like, ‘what’s so important? What’d he do?’ I might not have had to fight, but I was there, I was ready, and I did serve my country,” Newcomb said.

His military photo sits in his home as a reminder of that service, and now another photo accompanies it to represent a moment that makes Newcomb feel appreciated.

It’s a moment orchestrated by the students at Byron Center High School, who got to know him as much more than the man who took out the garbage.

That relationship started three years ago with then-freshman Nick Valente, who had lost an important ring during the lunch hour.

“I was spinning it on the table and when we got up to leave, I noticed it was gone”, Valente said, referring to his purity ring that had been a gift from his mother, and something he wore every day at the time.

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