Sobriety activist awarded a high school diploma

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A World War II veteran and Wasilla sobriety activist was awarded a high school diploma this week.

Gov. Tony Knowles awarded the diploma to Leonard Nugen Wednesday under a veterans diploma bill Knowles signed last year.

The bill allows the state Department of Education and Early Development to award diplomas to World War II veterans who did not earn them during the 1940s.

Nugen left high school in West Virginia to serve in the Navy during the war. He was discharged in 1946, leaving the Navy with the three medals and five battle stars.

Nugen, who developed a drinking problem during the war, later worked with alcoholics in Oregon. After moving to Alaska, he developed alcohol treatment programs in halfway houses.

In 1981, Nugen created Alaska's first long-term care program, Alaska Addiction Rehabilitation Service in Wasilla.

He retired in 1994 at age 70 and has been sober more than 35 years.

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