Brewer WWII veteran humbled by help finding lost hat

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 3:12 PM EDT
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BREWER, Maine (WABI) - A World War II veteran has been reunited with one of his most prized possessions.

Now, Brewer’s Ed Hendrickson has a message for the hundreds of people who helped in his time of need.

“After we came back from our jaunt, I couldn’t find my hat. So, I started looking around and asking people. Nobody had seen it,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson was shopping at the Twin City Plaza last Wednesday when he realized his cap was missing. He retraced his steps back into the stores, but the cap, and the pins attached to it, were nowhere to be found.

“It made me kind of sad,” Hendrickson said.

The 100-year-old former dive bomber pilot has had many USS Ticonderoga hats over the years, but this one is special to him for a simple reason.

“Because this had more filigree on it. I like all that fancy stuff there,” Hendrickson said.

The aviator badge, displayed front and center, has a little more sentimental value.

It was part of the original uniform Hendrickson wore during World War II.

“The day I got my wings? Of course I remember that. July 21st I graduated. 1943,” Hendrickson said.

After searching his apartment with no luck, Hendrickson’s daughter, Ellen, decided to file a report with the Brewer Police Department.

“My daughter got another call back from the police. It was the police chief calling to tell her they were looking for it. I think they were gonna put it on, what do you call that? Facebook,” Hendrickson said.

The response was immediate.

Over 1,500 shares with Hendrickson hearing from people as far away as Utah.

“To me, that’s just amazing. I never in my life dreamed of so many people looking for something that didn’t belong to them. It belonged to somebody else. I think that was kind of exciting, and it was a real nice thought, right inside of you,” Hendrickson said.

It turns out Hendrickson’s hat wasn’t far. He left it in a neighbor’s apartment, and it was returned to him two days later.

A happy ending, made happier by the people who showed him they care.

“I really appreciate all the help that everybody went through trying to find my poor little old hat. It was really kind of exciting. You just don’t expect those things to happen. That’s when it’s the nicest, when they happen and you don’t expect it,” Hendrickson said.

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