People Taking Action: Barber’s generosity helps students attend school

Posted at 9:05 PM, May 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-19 21:05:48-04

Suffolk, Va. - A big crowd gathered in a Suffolk strip mall near a Suffolk barber shop, all to be a part of our celebration. This group included two Lakeland High students carrying  the scholarship checks recently given to them by the person we were there to surprise.

Once we stepped inside his business, Herbert Smith didn't know what to think with all these folks filing into his barber shop, Professional Touch.

It was one of his customers,  Raiford Smith who nominated him.

"He's an inspiration to young men and ladies, so I just feel good overjoyed. I didn't expect all of this."

What Raiford is talking about is the response from Lakeland High. Several of their staff members and students wanted to join in on the surprise because Herbert recently awarded two students scholarships in honor of Keisha Sawyer Roberts, a beloved lakeland guidance counselor who passed away unexpectedly last year.

Sheila Williams, a guidance counselor herself from Lakeland High, knew it was important to be there when we surprised Herbert. "When we found out Herb was going to do this or that he was nominated for this we had to be here. This was just another inspirational moment another tribute to Keisha.
Herbert who has been a licensed barber for 21 years, says giving back is just who he is, so in addition to the scholarships he also held clothing and toy drives for people in need in his community.

For those reasons we presented Herbert with a People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

Why does he do this?

"Because as a child, I didn't have a whole lot. I made a promise with the Lord if I ever get to a point to help others, I will."

And because of his big heart, it's no surprise what he plans to do with that gift card.

"Trust me this will be going back into the scholarship fund. The first seed that's going to be sown back into the scholarship fund is part of Southern Bank. I'm donating my own gift card."