Huntsville man wants to return lost cap to veteran

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - We've all lost something before. Chances are, you've also found some things. A Huntsville man has an item he's trying to return.

For years, Dr. John Higginbotham and his family have welcomed people to their home on Horseshoe Trail in southeast Huntsville. They’ve shared the holiday spirit by lighting up their home and property with Christmas decorations for almost 30 years.

In an interview from 2017, Dr. Higginbotham told us, “Young couples carrying their children and telling me that their parents brought them here when they were carried in their arms and I think that it has become that much of a tradition is really very humbling to me.”

He’s loved watching three generations enjoy his Christmas gift to the community. “And as I looked at their eyes, I could see that there were three kids standing there,” he recalled.

This past holiday season, someone left them something. “It was an unintentional gift,” he said with a smile. Every year, they find items that people drop or leave behind. “An occasional mismatched glove or a hat or a scarf but this year, there was one that was a little bit different,” he said.

It’s a ball cap. But it’s not just a hat. “It's got to be meaningful to whoever owns the medals attached to this hat,” he said holding the cap. That’s why he turned to us, adding, “I'd like to see it get back to its’ rightful owner.”

It belongs to a veteran who served with the 101st Airborne unit. “I've always had a great deal of respect for veterans, my father being a veteran of World War II,” Higginbotham said. “And this is a military town but people who take their time and risk their lives to give me the freedom to put on a Christmas presentation for my people is a small way to pay them back to get their piece of memorabilia back to them.”

He left the hat outside hoping someone would come back looking for it. Holding it, he said, “We displayed this on the carousel right until the time that I removed it from the front yard a few weeks back.” But nobody claimed the cap. “And then my chief elf took it down to one of the vet organizations and tried to see if they could get any lines on who might be missing their hat,” he added. No luck.

It’s important for him to find the owner. “Because of the medals,” he said, “If the man has been wearing these medals, he's proud of them. And he's probably missing them.” Dr. Higginbotham just wants a soldier to get his hat back, period.

If you know who the hat might belong to, you can contact Jerry at (256) 535-9279 or you can email him at

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