Barber School Helps Veterans Battle PTSD

There's a place in Columbia giving the Veterans behind the clippers a new level of confidence as they try to weave their way through a new battle.

Columba, SC (WLTX) - Getting a haircut just does something to you. 

You feel like you can take on the world with some swagger.
 
There's a place in Columbia giving the Veterans behind the clippers a new level of confidence as they try to weave their way through a new battle. 
 
The guards are off, and the cleaners are out. then comes a few pumps with the foot to lift the chair.
It's time to get cutting.
behind the clippers is Gladys Kelly, a Retired Army Sergeant. 
 
Kelly didn't hesitate to bring her love of locks to the Your Professional Image School of Barbering in Columbia. 
She is one of 15 current students, most of them veterans, with some serving in combat.
 
Making sure there are no split ends is Tony Taylor, a barber with more than 20 years experience. 
 
"As I opened up a shop and I decided, uh, there's got to be something greater than this, you know. Maybe finding something else to do on another level. Then it came to me, to teach," Taylor said.
 
He opened up the school a few years ago - then last year, he wanted to take it to the next level.
 
Taylor said, "I found out that the VA was offering what they call Post 9/11, G.I. Montgomery Bills where they help veterans get into barber schools and that's what brought me into the program itself."
 
That program helps Veterans use their GI Benefits for college classes or on the job training. 
It's training for the veterans here, some of them with PTSD.
 
The Department of Veterans Affairs says people with PTSD have Feelings of hopelessness, depression or employment problems.
 
Taylor says the school's family atmosphere helps to keep those things from happening. 
 
"You have to have a high multitude of focus and patience and a lot of the combat veterans, they've been in the field. They understand what focus and patience is," Taylor said.
 
Those skills are helping Kelly get a cut above in her next career. 
 
"I'd like to own a strip mall and have different businesses within the strip mall and one of those businesses would of course be a barber shop," Kelly said.
 
The school is changing her life and others, one cut at a time.   
 
Your Professional Image School of Barbering is at 2412 Two Notch Road in Columbia.
It is open Tues-Sat from 930AM-4:00PM
 
 

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