GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — In 1953, West Michigan native Jay Kool spent about a year stationed near Seoul, South Korea, working as an Air Force mechanic during the Korean War.
When he wasn't fixing up airplanes, he found an interest in photography.
"When the war was over, the Sundays were pretty free at that time," Kool recalled. "I'd walk around the countryside taking pictures of whatever I was interested in."
When he got home, he kept the images he'd captured overseas, eventually stashing away a box of 35-millimeter slides in storage.
They were stashed away for decades, until recently rediscovered in his basement in Jenison.
"My daughter was recently converting her personal pictures to CDs, and she says, 'Why don't we take your military slides and do the same thing?'" he said.
Kool's family was so impressed, they had nine of the pictures printed. The images are stunning: incredibly rare, 65-year-old color photos from Kool's time overseas.
"I was just amazed," Kool said, describing the moment he first saw the photos printed and enlarged. "Tears came into my eyes, you know. I could hardly express myself.”
The photos were so clear and colorful, Kool's family decided to enter the collection into ArtPrize 10.
The entry is titled “The Forgotten War” and can be found at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel at 187 Monroe Ave. NW.