Barber shop celebrates veterans with free haircuts in Smithville

WWII Army veteran Howard Garfield, of Four Seasons in Smithville, gots  haircut from his grandson, barber Steven Fitzgerald, of Galloway Township, at Smithville Barber Shoppe in Historic Smithville on Oct. 31.

Sean M. Fitzgerald

Ninety-year-old Howard Garfield made sure to teach his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren an appreciation for the sacrifices made by our veterans.

A 38-month veteran of the Pacific theater of World War II, Garfield has photographs and stories dating from his enlistment at Fort Dix, through the Battle of Guadalcanal to the end of the war, many of which he has shared with his family.

The Village Greene at Historic Smithville, which is owned by Garfield's daughter, Wendie Fitzgerald, has actively given back to veterans, and this year will celebrate Veterans Day with attractions honoring these heroes.

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Garfield said he believes his example is one reason his daughter and other family members who work in Smithville are eager to recognize veterans.

"I think a lot of the stuff that they're doing here rubbed off from when I was in the service, and the kids being brought up knowing about it - pictures that I have up, albums," Garfield said. "Some of it rubbed off on them a little bit."

On Nov. 12, the Smithville Barber Shoppe will give free haircuts to military veterans and active duty members from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome and encouraged. A local veteran has donated hot dogs and the Colonial Inn will provide free drinks. A barbershop quartet and members of the Absegami High School Band's brass section will provide entertainment.

While not a veteran himself, Steven Fitzgerald, Garfield's grandson and owner of the barbershop, said he's glad to lend his talents in recognition of those who have fought.

"It really means a lot to them," Fitzgerald said. "(Their service) is a huge part of their life, and I never did anything like that but always appreciated what they did for us. It's easy for us to give back, because this is what we do. This is what these guys are good at."

This is Fitzgerald's second year giving free haircuts to veterans. Last year's event drew more than 100, and Fitzgerald said he will have six or seven barbers on hand this year to accommodate what he hopes will be an increased demand.

Chris Moran, one of Fitzgerald's barbers, joined the staff shortly before the first event and said he is looking forward to participating again this year.

"It's a way to say thanks, to them, for what they did for us," Moran said. "They did something for us; we're trying to do something for them."

Fitzgerald, who said the entertainment was an addition for this year, hopes the event spawns a villagewide festival in the future.

In addition to the free haircuts, several Historic Smithville shops will provide giveaways and discounts for veterans on Nov. 11 and 12, and the Colonial Inn has donated a dozen rooms to veterans for the evening of Nov. 11.

This year will be the third the Colonial Inn hosts veterans as part of a program run by national Bed and Breakfast organization Better Way to Stay, of which the Colonial Inn is a member.

The veterans' gratitude in simply being recognized, inn manager Tracy Walsh said, makes the celebration worthwhile.

"We love to see, when they're staying in the inn, they come to the continental breakfast in the morning and seeing the camaraderie and the coming together of folks and the bonding, it's just a wonderful experience," said Walsh, who is Steven Fitzgerald's sister.

A flyer listing veterans' offers will be available at the Colonial Inn.

Contact Braden Campbell:


If you go


Free haircuts for veterans


Nov. 12, 10-6 p.m.


Smithville Barber Shoppe, Historic Smithville, Galloway Township

How much:

Free for veterans

More info:

Call the Smithville Barber Shoppe at 609- 652-2442.

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