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Lake City woman honors brother with free haircuts for veterans

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:54 PM CDT
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LAKE CITY, Ark. (KAIT) - A Lake City woman is taking the issue of veteran suicide into her own hands.

At Blades Family Hair Care in Lake City, giving hair cuts is secondary to helping the community.

Carrie Schoolfield, a cosmetologist, has been cutting hair for years. In October of 2020, though, her mission changed. Now, she gives free haircuts to veterans and active-duty military members.

“It may seem like it’s just a haircut, but it’s more than just a haircut,” Schoolfield said. “It’s caring about what they’re going through and wanting to make a difference.”

It started as a kind gesture but quickly turned into a passion project that helps dozens of veterans take a moment to relax and speak their minds. Since starting the program, she has served upwards of 50 veterans. Many are now regulars at the salon.

She said many customers have tried to pay, but she refuses. Some clients have left money anyway, but Schoolfield doesn’t keep a cent. Instead, she donates that money to charity.

“Having people in my chair did something for them. It’s relaxing, it’s almost like therapy,” Schoolfield said.

And it’s all in memory of her brother.

“I just want my brother’s memory to stay alive. He was such an amazing person and he tried everything he could to get help,” she said.

Army Specialist Charles Schoolfield, Carrie’s brother, died from suicide on Oct. 12, 2017. He suffered from PTSD after serving during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He was 46 years old.

Now, his legacy lives on through his sister’s drive to help others.

“We care. It makes them feel like someone cares about what they’re going through,” Schoolfield said.

A haircut may seem simple to some, but for others, it means everything.

More than 6,000 veterans die from suicide every year. For anyone contemplating suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour service. Their number is 1-800-273-8255.

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