By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Cathy Fancher of Hair Envy Salon was cutting a Navy veteran's hair last Friday when he recalled how upon coming came back from Vietnam the men were told not to wear their uniforms in the airport.
The animosity veterans faced in the Vietnam era was so strong that the servicemen and women didn't get a "Welcome home."
"Times are different today," Fancher told him.
Fancher and the team at her salon provided free haircuts for veterans on Veterans Day, a way of thanking the veterans for their service. The small gesture was much appreciated. Another veteran walked in off the street, not for a haircut, but just to say "Thank you" for what Hair Envy was doing for veterans.
"It's a wonderful thing for you to do," he said, choking up as he added, "Keep up the good work."
"That was really special," Fancher said after the veteran left. "I thought it was heart-warming."
The event was the second annual Thank-a-Vet experience for the Hair Envy team of Christen Snyder, Jessica Italia, Lexi Wrobel and Fancher, whose father, Dayton Fancher, and father-in-law, Dennis Caldwell, are both veterans. Hair Envy also gives veterans a 10 percent discount all year round as part of the "Thank-a-Vet" program.
Wrobel, a manager at Tops on Grand Island who also volunteered at Hair Envy on Veterans Day, said one veteran in particular who walked in the doors at the salon, located at 2421 Grand Island Blvd. in the Grand Island Plaza, typified the day's customers.
"He was just genuine and nice and honest, and you could see why he served our country," Wrobel said. "He had a giving nature and he would probably have given his life for anyone."
Wrobel said the man was like all the veterans who came through the door: They represent what America stands for.
"He embodied it," she said.
Eden Fancher cuts the hair of her grandfather, Dayton Fancher, a veteran, on Veterans Day. (Photo by Cathy Fancher)