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Love, Dignity, and a Free Haircut: Hartford's Most Beloved Barber

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For 25 years, a barber has given Hartford's homeless community dignity, respect, and love, along with a free haircut and shave.

 

 

He's a retired real-estate investor, but to his many clients he's known simply as "Joe the Barber."    

 

Every Wednesday for the past 25 years, Joe has set up shop in the shade of a park in his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut, across the street from a food pantry operated by local churches.  Throughout the afternoon he offers a shave and a haircut to the homeless men and women, lined up for a weekly meal, for the price of only one hug.

 

In June of 2013,  Hartford city park officials tried to shut him down for operating without a permit.  Fortunately, the city's Mayor Pedro Segarra would have none of that, and intervened personally to allow Joe to keep working in the park, even stopping by for a hug from the beloved barber.

 

When asked why, Joe responds with a quote from the Gospel:  "Whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, you do unto me."  

 

 

He also answers from his heart. "They're my family. They really are my family."

 

Salvatore, a regular client, smiles as he talks about Joe.   "He shows a lot of love, not just to me, but to everybody that comes here."

 

Two great videos about Joe the barber are below: