Skip to Content

Beckley VAMC Barber Helps Bring a Smile to Army Veteran

Vicky Whiteman would do anything to see her dad smile.

Her father, Army Veteran Kenneth Lee Belcher, resides in a nursing home in Beckley. Mr. Belcher is unable to leave the facility due to being bed bound and was desperate for a proper haircut.

Vicky had spent time trying to get a barber to come to the nursing facility to cut his hair, but she was unable to find any one able to do so.

“I didn’t know what to do; my dad was so unhappy with the state of his hair, and it was affecting his overall mood,” she said.

Beckley VAMC Social Worker JoAnn Carper was able to put Vicky in contact with Roseanna Runyon, Veteran Canteen Services (VCS) chief at the Beckley VA Medical Center.

VCS contracts a barber at the medical center to provide haircuts and trims for Veterans. Roseanna was able to arrange for barber Eric Esteves to go to the nursing home and give Mr. Belcher a proper haircut and trim without a fee.

“Something as simple as a haircut gave my dad his dignity back,” Vicky said. “I think he was feeling bad about himself. I’m so thankful for the barber and the Beckley VA for what they did for my dad.”

Vicky said she had not seen her dad smile in a long time. A nurse at the nursing home sent her a picture of her father beaming after Eric cut his hair and trimmed up his beard.

Eric said he was more than happy to be able to help a fellow Army Veteran, and that the act of service “brought a smile to him as well.”

Sometimes the most meaningful measure of health is the happiness we can bring to others in service and kindness. 

Roseanna and Eric will be presented with an ICARE Award for Advocacy and Respect by Beckley VAMC leadership.

Since 1946, VCS has been established by law to “provide America’s Veterans, enrolled in VA’s Health Care System, their families, caregivers, VA employees, volunteers, and visitors, reasonably priced merchandise and services essential to their well-being.” Revenues generated from VCS are used to support a variety of programs, such as VA’s Rehabilitation Games, Fisher Houses, Poly-Trauma Centers for OIF/OEF/OND Veterans, disaster relief efforts, Substance Abuse Cessation, VA’s Homelessness initiatives, Women Veterans, Veteran Suicide Prevention and other activities.