May 18 was a day of milestones for Dale Barber.
Barber, of Struthers, received his associate of technical studies degree that morning from Eastern Gateway Community College. That evening, he wed Jessica Book of Poland on her grandparents’ farm in Berlin Center.
The couple had planned their wedding months ago, then Barber discovered he would have the credits completed to graduate this spring, and the dates coincided.
Barber completed his unindentured apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 2011. While working on his apprenticeship, he enrolled at Eastern Gateway.
He received life credit from his apprentice work to add to the major courses to earn the ATS degree in electrical technology. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
“Getting credit for my life’s work with five years in apprenticeship then school really helped a lot,” he said. “Anthony D’Apolito was very, very helpful. He catered to me since I started in 2009-2010. He championed my side.”
D’Apolito is project manager of special projects at the college.
“I am humbled by everyone who helped me. I thank God every day for putting this opportunity at my fingertips,” said Barber, who also worked on the electrical project when the college’s Valley Center was retrofitted in the Plaza Building in downtown Youngstown.
“Dale was so excited to learn he would graduate and wanted to walk across the stage to receive his diploma,” Book said before the wedding. “Then we discovered it was the same day as our wedding, but I would not take that away from him.”
Barber said his new bride is the most unselfish person he knows.
“It is important for me to receive my diploma, and it is important to her for me,” he said.