Weston hairstylist is helping the homeless get hired
Cosmetologist is giving free haircuts to get those in need employed in the community
WESTON, Wis. (WSAW) - Getting back on your feet after being homeless is a challenge, but it’s a little easier when you get some help from the community. A local cosmetologist is helping people struggling with homelessness and addiction by giving them free makeovers.
It’s a heartwarming story of two friends who found each other years later at different places in their lives. One person struggling with homelessness and one ready to make a difference.
“I’ve been up and down, trying to find a job and everything. With my background, it’s been kind of difficult. Let’s be fair, it’s been very difficult,” said Richard Allen Burns Jr. of Wausau.
Richard Allen Burns Jr. and Jerry Jones, a cosmetologist, first met each other about 15 years ago.
“I’ve known Richard for years. Richard used to work at a nightlife, a little club I used to frequent a lot,” said Jerry Jones.
Most recently they met at a local laundry mat. They caught up about the time that had passed.
”I hadn’t seen Richard in years, and one of the times I’ve seen him, he just wasn’t looking so good,” said Jerry.
“I’m a recovering addict of 28 years and I went to rehab back in June and I had 58 days clean and then I had a relapse,” said Richard.
The two continued to chat until Richard told the cosmetologist about his living situation.
“I asked him how his life was going and he just told me he was homeless and then right there, I knew I had to do something,” said Jerry.
The barber said he could relate to Richard’s struggles, so he wanted to help.
“I kept it to myself but I was almost homeless. I had to choose between various utilities. Paying my car note, my insurance, my rent,” said Jerry, “I didn’t want anyone feeling like I did before. I just didn’t.”
So the cosmetologist took Richard under his wing to freshen him up and give him a new look.
“And when I ran into him today, I was not expecting this at all. This was the last thing on my plate today and it was such a blessing,” said Richard.
Richard has a background in sales and is looking at some potential opportunities.
“If I can just help someone smile, help someone look good, help someone feel their best, you know what, I changed one life,” said Jerry.
Jones wants to continue to help people in Marathon County so they don’t have to experience homelessness.
“So being given this opportunity is giving me hope again that I don’t have to be living out of my car anymore, and I don’t have to be sleeping in tents out in a park anymore. It’s really helped,” said Richard.
Jerry is hoping to continue his mission of helping people get back on their feet with free makeovers. He wants to start a program with a non-profit so he can keep doing this for others.
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