Anthony Cymerys, or “Joe the Barber,” has been giving haircuts to those in need for 20 years at local shelters and convalescent homes for years. He doesn't ask for much in return -- just a hug.
Cymerys did not start out giving haircuts for hugs. He worked in real estate and retired early. That is when he decided to give back to the community.
“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You can’t buy this. Money can’t buy what I get for what I do out here,” Cymerys said.
The free haircuts started when he was volunteering at the Immaculate Conception Shelter on Park Street, the Hartford Courant reported. He went on to add convalescent homes, shelters and private residences to the list of places where he cut locks out of love for community.
He also volunteered at the YMCA in Hartford until about four years ago, when that YMCA closed. So, he opened shop at Bushnell Park and now sees about 50 customers each week.
Every Wednesday, Cymerys offers free lunch from his van, in addition to the haircuts.
“He doing it from his heart," said Jeffery Pettiford, of Hartford, said. "It’s coming from his heart. He’s not a phony. He’s real.”
Cymerys is in his late 70s but said he has no plans to stop what he's doing.