Veteran Barbers Offer Free Haircuts for Veterans & First Responders
Community outreach is about following your heart to help others. If you need any inspiration to get active, Lloyd Blair and his brotherhood of veteran barbers, will give you a little spark. Veteran Barbers for Veterans provided over 60 free haircuts, shaves and beard trims to veterans, service members and first responders in their mobile barber shop at Welcome Home, mid-Missouri’s shelter for homeless veterans. “We’re doing this to show our appreciation to Veterans United Foundation for all the support they’ve given us,” said Lloyd Blair, co-founder of Veteran Barbers for Veterans. Three barbers and a stylist provided services to men and women at the Welcome Home shelter.
Becoming a veteran barber was a journey Lloyd didn’t foresee. After serving two combat missions in Iraq and four years as a Veteran Services Officer at his local VFW counseling other veterans, Lloyd was diagnosed with cancer. Surviving what became the greatest battle of his life, it was his barber that encouraged him to pursue barbering as a trade.
Lloyd recognized the need to support and encourage veterans, especially those who are homeless. He started putting it all together with the help of one of his instructors and the employees of Veterans United Home Loans, who stepped in to help with a $10,000 donation. Veteran Barbers for Veterans is funded by the donation from Veterans United Foundation, other private donors and directly from Lloyd using his VA benefit. The organization has a 20’ x 8.5’ mobile trailer, drop down ramp for wheel chair accessibility, 2 stations, power hook-up and a generator.
Fueled by the passion to serve with his co-founder Brynn Hooker, Lloyd reflects, “When you serve in combat together, it’s a unique love you develop for one another. When you bleed with your brothers, it’s a whole different thing. We wanted to keep that spirit going. This mission is with all volunteers.” Brynn is attending the local Paul Mitchell The Academy so their organization will have a stylist on board to serve the hair care needs of their sister vets.
Veteran Barbers for Veterans is a 501c3 non-profit in Missouri. They’re a brotherhood of veteran barbers that have created a platform for veterans to gain barber education and meaningful employment to better their lives after service. “We not only want to help our veteran community, but we also want to help the community in which we live, by participating in local charity events.”
They started a scholarship fund to grant to veterans that are not eligible for GI Bill or Vocational Rehab to attend barber school, aiming to follow the motto, “no brother left behind.” The scholarships are awarded to veterans to attend Headlines Barber Academy in Kansas City, KS. Headlines Barber Academy also accepts GI Bill and Vocational Rehab funding for veterans that are eligible for those benefits. Lloyd continues, “We will utilize local barber academies and our mobile barber trailer to provide free haircuts and shaves to veterans, law enforcement and firefighters across the United States.”