Retired barber Tom Gorzycki cuts hair to feed the poor in


Tom Gorzycki shut his Minnesota barbershop 23 a long time ago, but he’s nevertheless chopping hair.

Gorzycki, 87, established up a makeshift salon in the basement of his senior residing co-op five yrs back. He gives free haircuts to residents on Tuesday mornings — with a capture: They are inspired to lead what they can to a lead to that’s shut to Gorzycki’s heart.

“Whatever total you want to place in the jar is wonderful by me,” he tells his clientele, all of whom are male people in his local community, Applewood Pointe in Minnetonka, Minn.

All donations go to Arm in Arm in Africa — a Minnesota-based business that Gorzycki and his spouse, Mary, have volunteered with for numerous years. The nonprofit supports poor communities in South Africa by offering food stuff, health and fitness care and instructional chances.

In the 5 yrs that he’s been slicing hair absolutely free, Gorzycki has lifted extra than $10,000 for Arm in Arm in Africa.

“I’m gratified by what I do to feed my friends in South Africa,” he claimed.

Barbering has been Gorzycki’s everyday living for seven decades. He figured out how to minimize hair when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1952. Whilst on a Navy ship, Gorzycki started off seeing the barber on board do his task. He was intrigued.

“I would support, and via trial and error, I obtained rather great at it,” claimed Gorzycki, who fought in the Korean War.

A worker paused to help discover a missing woman. He observed her waist-deep in a stream.

He quickly turned the ship’s barber, and he also ran the ship retailer, which offered toiletries, cigarettes and confections to military services members.

Right after he left the company in 1956, Gorzycki enrolled in barber college in Minneapolis and subsequently opened a salon called Tom’s Barbershop. From then on, he was recognized as “Tom the barber.”

“I had my very own store for 36 a long time,” he mentioned. “It was a community shop, so I got to know the folks. We acquired to be mates.”

In several situations, he explained, he gave young ones their to start with haircut and then, 20 several years afterwards, he minimize their hair on their wedding day working day. Observing his clients develop up was his preferred component of the occupation.

“I appreciate reminiscing now,” Gorzycki explained.

In his retirement, he and his wife focused on volunteer initiatives to fill their time. As a result of their church, they discovered about Arm in Arm in Africa — which operates in three various areas of South Africa — and they were eager to get concerned.

“We strike the floor jogging,” Gorzycki stated.

A town didn’t have a veterans memorial. So this teenager created and designed a single.

The pair frequented South Africa two times with the corporation — in 2012 and 2015 — for 3-7 days volunteering stints in which they assisted arrange foodstuff distributions and other initiatives.

“We would go in there and greet them and invest time just remaining there with them,” Gorzycki said.

“We ended up just so amazed with the individuals, the friendliness, the acceptance,” he added. “We’re all relatives now.”

What struck Gorzycki most about the South Africans he met, he reported, is that “they are the most generous with what tiny they have.”

Much more than after, he witnessed people sharing their allotment of foodstuff with other people who necessary it additional.

“They are all inadequate, and yet they are willing to let go of it so any person else can have it,” mentioned Gorzycki, who explained he also grew up in poverty.

His mother, he reported, taught him to help some others anytime achievable.

“I by no means believed of it at the time, but it was my mother’s impact that instilled me with this potential to arrive at out and give,” he stated, incorporating that he also volunteers weekly at the regional Veterans Affairs medical center — which he has been carrying out for practically two a long time. “She was quite generous.”

She just bought approved to professional medical school. She’s 13.

Arm in Arm in Africa is grateful for Gorzycki’s constant contributions — and touched by his unwavering dedication to the bring about, explained Pat Dawson, govt director of the firm.

“He has created a big variance in our advancement,” Dawson mentioned. “Tom’s own giving goes considerably past his barbershop supplying.”

“Tom is just this kind of a remarkably humble and inspiring male,” he continued. “He’s been very generous and a model of the variety of particular person we’d enjoy 10,000 of in our corporation.”

Though he’s not touring to South Africa any far more, Gorzycki stated he programs to go on supporting the induce he cares deeply about whilst carrying out what he loves: cutting hair, assisting many others and making pals in the system.

John Richards, 71, is a standard consumer at the basement barbershop, the place Gorzycki has set up a chair, a mirror and a modest station with his equipment as very well as a framed photograph of South African youngsters and a jar for donations. Richards will come in for a haircut every several months and normally leaves a $20 monthly bill.

“You get a wonderful earth-course haircut from a earth-class barber, and you get to help feed people today in Africa,” Richards stated. “It’s a win-earn for all people.”

“It’s a quite preferred service,” he additional. “Everyone appreciates his hours. Even individuals who do not want haircuts will go down there to socialize with everyone.”

Gorzycki gives haircuts each Tuesday between 10 and 11:30 a.m. The exact same residents routinely appear for a refreshing cut, even though some new ones trickle in from time to time.

As significantly as quantities go, “I’ve experienced anyplace from a person to nine,” claimed Gorzycki, who has 6 little ones, four stepchildren, 5 grandchildren and five terrific-grandchildren.

Bystander rescues 4 little ones from hearth, then jumps out window to help you save a 5th

He no longer cuts women’s hair, he discussed, given that it can be far more complex to trim and design and style.

“Senior gentlemen haircuts are easier, for the reason that a lot of us really do not have a whole lot of hair left,” he stated with a laugh.

Gorzycki has no ideas to halt his haircutting endeavours. His basement barbershop, he mentioned, keeps him hectic and fulfilled.

“As lengthy as I still have a regular hand, I’ll keep going,” Gorzycki explained.

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