APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Sometimes we meet friends in unexpected places and that certainly was the case for two veterans in the Fox Valley. 

Two Mondays ago, Fran Ebben was waiting to get his haircut at Campus Barber Shop in Appleton. He decided to pass the time by picking up a book in the waiting area.

“The more I read, the more enthused I got about it and I said this story has got to continue,” said Ebben. “I began looking at it and I said, ‘Brad’ (the owner of the barbershop) who wrote this it’s wonderful.”

The book that Ebben had picked up was the story of Robert Hein. He was a World War II veteran who had served in the Pacific theater of that war. At Iwo Jima, he was shot through the jaw by machine gun fire but survived.

Hein had recently passed away and his brother Jerry decided to honor him through this book.

In a happy coincidence, Jerry Hein had an appointment at the barbershop right after Ebben. The two were able to meet and Ebben paid for Hein’s haircut.

“He was not only interested, he was excited by what he read and I think there’s very few people who have read that with the same level of excitement,” said Hein.

Jerry Hein said he was a veteran as well and served during the Korean War era. He said his nieces and nephews helped to gather all of the information that went into the book and that his daughter helped him get it published.

He said he hopes the book will educate people about the horrible realities of war. He had asked people at the barbershop if he could leave a copy of the book in the waiting area.

“I felt that he (his brother) deserved that this information be put out in the public,” said Hein.

“We want that history to continue to live on and not be forgotten about,” said Ebben.

On Tuesday afternoon, at the same barber shop where they had met Hein gifted Ebben with his very own copy of the book.

Ebben is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

“(For) somebody to love their brother that much that he wanted to honor him all these years later (is amazing),” said Ebben.