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Salon gives haircuts to 400 schoolchildren

"Hair stylists know all too well that many things intended to be permanent are only temporary.

Since the May 22 tornado thrust the steady and somewhat predictable flow of life in Joplin into flux, Kevin Lane, owner of Hairbenders Salon, has had to roll with the punches to keep his business afloat.

Though Lane does plan to rebuild at 22nd and Main streets, the business has moved into its new temporary location at Stone’s Corner in the former Vatterott College Cosmetology School.

On Sunday, stylists took advantage of their newfound stability to give back to the community. They teamed up with Matrix, a maker of products for professional hair stylists, to offer free haircuts to more than 400 schoolchildren from the Joplin area.

A long line of parents and students extended down the front of the strip mall on North Main Street. High temperatures did not deter those who were eager to get a trim from a New York stylist.

Martin Dale, vice president of education for Matrix, was one of several executives from the company who made the trip to Joplin. He said community bonding is an important factor in healing from a disaster.

"One of our ‘Spread the Love’ salons was badly damaged, so we’re here to help out in any way we can with the rebuilding process," he said. "I think it’s a sense of community. When something like this happens, and I remember 9/11, when something really bad like that happens, it’s amazing the human endeavor that happens after that."

Lane said the event was a good way to serve the community and to let people know that Hairbenders has weathered the storm.

"It’s nice to have a building," he said. "It’s nice to have a sign and be able to do some advertising, because being there since 1973, we have to tell the masses that we’ve moved."

Lane said he looks forward to a period of stability, not just for himself but also for his staff.

"I am thrilled with what is happening here today because this is why I love Joplin," he said. "It’s our community banding together, and that’s been happening from day one after the tornado. Everyone helps everyone here. I’m thrilled that Hairbenders has received so much support from our manufacturer and distributor so that we could do a huge thing for our community to get the kids ready to go back to school."

This article was first published on joplinglobe.com.