WHEELING – Local hairstylists donated their time and supplies and donated free haircuts on Monday in memory of a tragically deceased Wheeling youth.
About 50 people were expected to attend the trimmings, which took place throughout Monday afternoon at the Youth Services System offices of the Hazel Atlas Building in East Wheeling.
The haircuts were a public service program run by Shelby Fluharty, an Americorps-VISTA volunteer, for YSS.
She was inspired by the story of Caleb Smail, a 19-year-old who was murdered in January 2019 in a robbery. Monday would have been Smail’s 22nd birthday.
“My initial thought was to get a free haircut for the community,” Fluharty explained. “We ended up tying the haircut to Jen Stricklin, who is the mother of Caleb Smail’s girlfriend.”
The haircut project then teamed up with the Caleb Smail Kindness Project.
Stricklin, an esthetician at Posh Salon, was among those who donated their time and talent on Monday. She was joined by Chad Stradwick of Stradwick’s Fade Cave, Luke Steed of Stallion Cutz, Mandy Ware of Posh and Sandi Bernosky of Classic Couture Hair and Nail.
Among the attendees were people from all walks of life, according to Fluharty and Betsy Bethel-McFarland, director of communications at YSS.
At least one client was a child staying at the YSS emergency shelter, Bethel-McFarland said.
Others came up thinking it was a fundraiser for YSS and asked how they could donate.
“Some people in the community took advantage of it,” Fluharty said. “They were very grateful to be here and appreciated the barbers who donated their time and supplies.”
Shannon Schramm from Triadelphia volunteers with YSS, and turned out to have “a little better to see”.
“It was refreshing to find out that they were doing something like this,” she said. “YSS does so many good things.”
Her twin sister, Sharon Ward, sat in the chair next door for a haircut.
“I knew my sister was coming and wanted to come too,” she said.