Shave and a haircut - for vets

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Steve Howard of Brigantine gets a haircut from Andrea Stephens of Galloway. Howard works at Richard Stockton College. Steve Howard of Brigantine gets a haircut from Andrea Stephens of Galloway. Howard works at Richard Stockton College.

GALLOWAY – For a treat that couldn’t be topped, more than 100 veterans received free haircuts Monday, Nov. 12 at the Smithville Barber Shoppe.

And 75 hot dogs were also served on the day the township marked Veterans Day this year.

“We had six barbers in,” proprietor and barber Steven Fitzgerald said Monday. “Four worked at a time, but we had six so they could take breaks.”

Business was pretty non-stop for eight hours, according to Fitzgerald, who said the total of free haircuts reached 101.

One of the barber shop’s regular customers, Steve Howard of Brigantine who works “around the corner” at Richard Stockton College, said it was a great program. Fitzgerald started giving veterans free haircuts two years ago.

Another non-veteran customer said he was glad to see the support for those who served the military.

NBC 40 chief meteorologist Dan Skeldon who lives in Ocean City was complimentary.

“It’s great what he does,” Skeldon said. “They deserve it. It’s great to provide something that shows their service was appreciated.”

A veteran who said he appreciated the trip was Rudy Roskowski.

“I was on the USS Pearle – a destroyer escort for four years,” Roskowski said. “I was in during the Korean Conflict.”

Asked if anyone told him jokes during the day, Fitzgerald said one patron not only told a joke, but left him a printed copy:

“Two barbershops, located across the street from each other, were constantly competing for customers,” the tale began. “One day a sign went up in the window of one of the shops: ‘Haircuts now $4.’ An hour later the other shop put up a larger sign: ‘We repair $4 haircuts.’”

Smithville Barber Shoppe Proprietor Steven Fitzgerald’s grandfather, Howard S. Garfield, spent most of World War II in the Pacific with the Army Signal Corps. Smithville Barber Shoppe Proprietor Steven Fitzgerald’s grandfather, Howard S. Garfield, spent most of World War II in the Pacific with the Army Signal Corps.

The main attraction for a portion of the day was Fitzgerald’s grandfather, Howard S. Garfield, 90, who served in the Pacific with the Army Signal Corps 1942-1946.

“I spent all but 30 days out of the country,” Garfield said. “I trained at Sea Girt and Monmouth. Instead of a 10-day furlough, 10 of us were shipped off to California and then out to sea.”

He said he’s always felt that he got his reward.

“I got something,” Garfield said. “I came back alive. I’m very lucky.”

It’s been a rewarding life, he said.

“I smoke good cigars, I drink good scotch and I have three ex-wives,” he said, before getting serious. “In this area I have all of my children, 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren – with the 14th due in June. They all come to see me. That’s what you call a good life.”

Garfield said he earned enough to support his good life by designing and then manufacturing cases for electrocardiogram machines and halter monitors.

“I never designed anything before,” he said. “A girl I was going with worked at a hospital and told me how these devices needed a way to be easily and safely transported.”

He said he worked out the designs himself.

“Then I went to a shoemaker and to a purse manufacturer to get my prototypes,” Garfield said. “I started selling them to the hospital where she worked. Before I knew it, I was in business.”

Channel 40 meteorologist Dan Skeldon of Ocean City has his hair cut by Lien Tran of Mays Landing. Channel 40 meteorologist Dan Skeldon of Ocean City has his hair cut by Lien Tran of Mays Landing.

Proprietor Steven Fitzgerald with Rudy Roskowski, a Navy veteran during the Korean War. Proprietor Steven Fitzgerald with Rudy Roskowski, a Navy veteran during the Korean War.

 


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