Barber returns hat to Korean War veteran

Herm Jongsma and Kaylie VanNetten.


GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Korean War veteran and the hat that told his story have been reunited.

After watching 24 Hour News 8’s report on Memorial Day, the family of Herm Jongsma contacted Kaylie VanNetten to return the Korean War combat ball cap to its rightful owner.

For two months, the blue combat infantryman ball cap sat behind the counter at Gentlemen’s Quarters barber shop near Jenison, waiting for its owner to retrieve it. No one came to pick up the hat, so stylist Kaylie VanNetten posted the story on social media.

“I felt like it was a pretty important thing,” VanNetten said.

Herm Jongsma, 85, has Alzheimer’s disease, but the hat is his connection to his past.

Along with an U.S. Army veteran pin on one side and a Koren War Veterans Association pin on the other, the blue combat infantryman cap featured a Combat Infantryman Badge with a star, indicating a second award. According to the Army, the badge is awarded to infantry or special forces soldiers who served in combat.

Herm Jongsma’s family says he served in some rough places, including Outpost Harry — a must hold at all costs strategic outpost during the war.

“He fought on the line. He was a United States soldier who fought with the Greek Army, and has a lot of stories to tell,” said Fran Jongsma, his daughter-in-law.

His family says he used to get his haircut at Gentlemen’s Quarters, and probably never realized he left it behind.

Friday, VanNetten was able to hand the hat back to Herm Jongsman.

“I was really, really glad that somebody came forward and glad he came in personally and claimed it. That was really, really nice,” said VanNetten.