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Wheeling Barbers Give Free Trims in Memory of Slain Teen

Photo by Joselyn King Sharon Ward, seated, gets a haircut from Mandy Ware of the Posh beauty salon in Wheeling. Youth Services System and Americorps-Vista volunteer Shelby Fluharty organized the effort for free haircuts, which were donated by local stylists in memory of Caleb Smail, a local teen who died tragically in January 2019. Monday would have been Smail’s 22nd birthday.

WHEELING — Local hair stylists offered their time and supplies and provided free haircuts Monday in memory of a Wheeling youth who died tragically.

About 50 people were scheduled to turn out for the trims, which took place throughout the afternoon Monday at the Youth Services System offices at the Hazel Atlas Building in East Wheeling.

The haircuts were a public service program organized by Americorps-VISTA volunteer Shelby Fluharty for YSS.

She was inspired by the story of Caleb Smail, a 19-year-old who was murdered in January 2019 during a robbery. Monday would have been Smail’s 22nd birthday.

“My initial thought was to do a free haircutting for the community,” Fluharty explained. “We ended up tying the haircutting with Jen Stricklin, who is Caleb Smail’s girlfriend’s mother.”

The haircut project then partnered with the Caleb Smail Kindness Project.

Stricklin, a beautician at the Posh salon, was among those donating their time and talent 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 those turning out were people from all walks of life, according to Fluharty and Betsy Bethel-McFarland, director of communications at YSS.

At least one customer was a child staying at the YSS emergency shelter, Bethel-McFarland said.

Others came thinking it was a fundraiser for YSS, and asked how they could donate.

“There were some people from the community who benefited,” Fluharty said. “They were super grateful to be here, and were appreciative of the barbers who donated their time and supplies.”

Shannon Schramm of Triadelphia volunteers with YSS, and turned out to get “a little better look.”

“It was refreshing to find out they were doing something like this,” she said. “YSS does so many good things.”

Her twin sister, Sharon Ward, sat in the next chair getting a trim.

“I knew my sister was coming, and I wanted to come too,” she said.

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