West Resident Keeps Barber Shop Open to Help Community

By: Stephanie Ando Email
By: Stephanie Ando Email

People from across the country have gone to West to help the town pick up the pieces over the past two days.

Many have commented on how resilient the residents of West are in light of the tragedy, but one West resident is helping out in his own unique way.

“I stopped by next door to see what's going on, next thing you know I'm in here cutting hair,” said Sam Pinter, owner of Sam’s Barber Shop.

Sam's is the oldest Barber Shop in town, because it’s the only barber shop in town.

Sam opened up his shop Friday morning, because an old friend wanted a haircut. His friend, who asked to remain anonymous, says his son was one of the first responders who died in the blast.

Officials say 14 bodies were recovered; more than 200 people were injured Wednesday. State officials say 60 people are still unaccounted for, and dozens of homes were leveled.

“Too many,” said Pinter. “And not only those who have lost their homes, the ones that are ruined.”

Sam's Barber Shop was somehow spared, and still looks the way it has for more than 50 years. However, Sam says he's deeply affected by the catastrophic loss around him.

“I think it changes your whole life. I don't think I'll ever be the same myself,” said Sam.

Opening up his shop Wednesday was Sam's way of helping the town of West move forward.

“I've smiled through a whole heck of a lot in my life time,” said Pinter. “We're not going to mope around, not at all…you just got to make the best of it.”

Many businesses in West were still closed Friday, and residents who were evacuated Wednesday night have still not been able to go back home.

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