“It’s Not Just a Hat”: Navy Veteran from Maine Desperately Seeking Lost Navy Hat
Quite possibly the five most important words of this entire situation -- "It's not just a hat."
This is honestly one of those times where one of our community members needs us and deserves to have us come together to help her out. Recently while tubing with friends along the Saco River in Conway, New Hampshire, U.S. Navy Veteran Trish Burnell lost her Navy ships hat that was given to her after serving on the U.S.S. Hunley.
According to Trish, who lives in Denmark, Maine, even though the Saco River runs a few miles in the back of her house in the woods, her and some friends rented some tubes out of Conway to run the river over there. At one point, her tube flipped on the rocks and she was sucked under, actually having her leg trapped between rocks.
On top of that, according to WMUR, the other tubes running the river were "going over the top of her." Everything happening at once caused Trish's glasses and beloved U.S.S. Hunley hat to come off of her; and while she was able to save her glasses, her hat was lost.
"I'll do anything to get my hat back. You have no idea. It's not just a hat, it's my uniform and it's everything I stand for and the hard work I put into the Navy."
Trish went on to say that receiving a ships hat is "a big deal" and that for members of the Navy and other branches, insignia hats become part of your identity and are worn with great pride during service and afterwards.
Trish has been sent hats from relative strangers who just want to help out and has even looked online at purchasing another insignia hat, but it's not as simple as hopping online, clicking, and buying.
"You can't find one that's even close to the same material, fit or design. I'll keep ordering hats online from every place I can find in hopes of coming close to something that will look and feel right, but as a disabled vet and lack of decent pay I can only order 1 a month....but I will keep trying till my dying breath."
And of course, the cost and material/fit/design aside, there's not a hat that exists, even if it's a perfect replica, that will be the same for Trish. Because even a perfect replica won't have the blood, sweat, and tears she shed while serving to earn and be given the original. No matter what, it just won't be the same.
"I just want my old friend back and on top of my head again."
Trish served in Desert Storm and therefore was willing to sacrifice her life and well-being to protect us, so the LEAST we can do is do our best to try and reconnect her with her beloved hat. She's offered a reward and can be contacted at 207-239-0569.