Barber Steven Fitzgerald wanted to say thank you to veterans, many of whom are already his customers. So the owner of the Smithville Barber Shoppe in Historic Smithville and Village Greene is giving free haircuts to anyone who can show military identification on Veterans Day, Friday.

"I haven't been in the service, and I feel like I should do something," said the 30-year-old Absecon resident. He said he was particularly inspired by his grandfather, Howard Garfield, of Galloway Township, a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific Theater.

Fitzgerald will have barbers at all three of his chairs that day, and customers will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.

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Fitzgerald has owned the shop in the Smithville section of Galloway for four years. Before becoming a barber, he taught middle school mathematics in Vineland, and bought and rehabilitated apartment buildings in Egg Harbor City, doing all the work himself, he said.

His parents, Wendie and Ed Fitzgerald, own the newer Village Greene portion of the Smithville shops and run the Smithville Colonial Inn. Steven Fitzgerald's wife, Amber, teaches fifth- through eighth-grade math in Margate, he said.

Free haircuts for veterans

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the Smithville Barber Shoppe, next to the train ride in Historic Smithville and Village Greene, 1 N. New York Road in Galloway Township. For more information visit, call 609-652-2442 or visit


Resorts CEO suffers broken back

Dennis Gomes, chief executive officer of Resorts Casino Hotel, was experiencing some back pain after he awkwardly lurched forward while moving a marble-topped table last month at his Las Vegas home.

He finally went to the doctor four weeks later for an X-ray. The findings?

"He asked me, ‘Did you ever break your back?'" Gomes said of his doctor. "He told me, ‘Dennis, you're the toughest SOB I've ever seen in my life. You're the only person I know who's walked around for one solid month with a broken back.'"

Gomes, 67, who also has a home in Margate, has been fitted with a metal back brace but is still going to work at his Atlantic City casino.

"It hurts like hell," he said. "I won't take any pain pills."

Gomes, a black belt in martial arts who likes to work out every day, said he is under doctor's orders not to perform any karate moves until his back completely heals, a process expected to take about three months.

In the meantime, his doctor said he can ride a bike to keep in shape.

Staff Writer Donald Wittkowski contributed to this report.

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