Kooistra’s journey from POW back home to Newton
Newton resident Verle Kooistra’s military portrait looks nothing out of the ordinary at first glance — a standard garrison cap, neaty-tied neck tie and a pair of eyeglasses. It was these glasses, however, that nearly determined his contribution to the American effort in World War II.
“I went into the service in March of 1943 and spent 15 months out in Nebraska,” Kooistra said. “I would have never had to leave the U.S. because my eyes are so bad, but I thought, ‘Shoot, I’m not doing anything here.’”
Feeling as though he had more to contribute, Kooistra volunteered for an experience he wouldn’t soon forget.
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