Local barber shop teams up with Veterans Social Center for free haircuts

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, March 21, 2023

SALISBURY — Barber shops have always brought people together. You can talk, debate, reminisce and share stories — all while getting a fresh cut or a clean trim to get you looking your best.

On Monday, the Veterans Social Center partnered with Above the Collar Hair & Beard Bar LLC to turn the center into a make-shift barber shop, providing free haircuts and beard trims for veterans. The event was held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the West End Plaza where the Veterans Social Center is located. Over 30 veterans received haircuts within the first hour.

“Giving back is like food for the soul,” said Jennifer Kimmer, one of the owners of Above the Collar. Kimmer, along with her partner Ashli Blake, have owned their barber shop, which is located on South Fulton Street, for four years.

Both explained that they were approached by Kenneth Hardin at their shop earlier this year who asked if they wanted to team up and put on the event.

“We’ll probably do this again here,” Blake said as she was giving a haircut. She said doing stuff like this is important to her because her son is a veteran, serving in the Marines for six years.

The event also featured two military themed semi-trucks in the parking lot where people could take pictures. The trucks were brought in by Freightliner and are a part of the company’s “Ride of Pride” tribute trucks that are built to honor veterans. The “Ride of Pride” trucks were first built in 2001 after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The blue truck that was parked outside of the event was the 35th and newest truck to have been built, said Joe Shumway, who works for Freightliner and drove the trucks to the center.

Hardin wanted to create a welcoming place for veterans to come talk and hangout, so he started the Veterans Social Center in January of 2022.

“I have PTSD myself. I was going to therapy but I didn’t like going, so I said ‘I wish there was a place where we could all go and just hang out,'” Hardin said. “This is therapy. I have people who come in who are lonely and depressed…they come up here and they’re laughing and talking. Most of the time, these guys just want to come in here and relive and talk.”

He plans on doing more events in the future and will continue to support veterans in every way he can.

“That’s the brotherhood of being in the military. We take care of each other,” Hardin said.