School grants dying father's wish

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - It was a father's wish to see his oldest son graduate high school. Doctors told him that likely wouldn't happen. But it motivated the school to make graduation happen a little sooner.

Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach went to Gwinnett County to talk to the father and son about the special ceremony.

Tony Tran has lived a full life. He grew up in Vietnam, served the U.S. embassy there during the war, was held as a prisoner of war, then brought his family to the United States.

But more recently, he has been battling liver cancer and doesn't have much longer to live. His dying wish came true at Mill Creek High School.

There was the same pomp and circumstance of graduation, even if it was only for one student, Mill Creek senior David Tran.

"He's always wanted to see me graduate," said David Tran.

But the graduation wasn't scheduled to happen until next May and according to doctors, Tony Tran doesn't have that long to live.

David Tran learned right before school started that his dad, a former soldier and POW in Vietnam for six years, has terminal liver cancer and only a month or two to live.

"He's a strong guy. He just works really hard and someone I look up to,"David Tran said.

His sister Kim contacted the school and told them the story, and administrators broke out the caps and gowns.

It was a complete surprise to Tony Tran.

"Very, very happy…" he said.

David Tran thought it was only going to be football teammates and a few friends in attendance, not a packed auditorium.

"I was shocked. I was so nervous," said David Tran.

It may not have been the real thing, but there were real emotions.

"I was sitting down on the front row and the music was playing and I looked at my dad and I started crying; kind of emotional," David Tran said.

A shared a moment for father and son, hopefully one of many more.

"Who knows, he might still be there. I don't know," David Tran said.
After graduation in May, David Tran says he's thinking about going to college for electrical engineering.

His dad still hopes his son follows in his footsteps and serves his country by joining the Army.