For 90-year-old Alton Finney, his 72 years working as a barber has gained him many friends and clients.
And now, citywide recognition.
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“His purpose is to bring joy to people,” said Gina Scholl, who organized the ceremony on behalf of Beauty Blessings, a network of beauty professionals, in partnership with the Fort Worth City Council.
The celebration will be held to recognize Finney’s legacy in the field and to celebrate his love of horses and rodeo.
“Given that love of horses, it’s natural to have that Stockyard connection,” said District 2 Councilman Carlos Flores. Flores will be awarding Finney with a certificate of recognition on Saturday on behalf of the mayor.
Finney grew up in a small ranch in Midland, Texas, where he raced horses and helped at the local rodeo. He discovered his passion for barbering during his time in the Navy and started cutting hair without being officially licensed at the time. It wasn’t until he returned to Texas that he graduated from barber college in 1946.
“It’s not easy to get started,” Finney said. He began building his clientele giving haircuts for 75 cents, which was the average price at the time, Finney said. Since then he’s worked at several locations, mostly in Fort Worth, and has been at his current shop in Ridglea for almost 20 years.
Don Welcheon has been Finney’s client since 1986. As he walked in to meet Finney for his appointment, it was clearly more than just a routine visit. “His care and consideration” is what sets Finney apart, Welcheon said.
“You can tell he has such a passion for hair and for people,” Scholl said.
Scholl, a hairstylist herself, met Finney through one of her clients whose husband had been going to the same barber for more than 40 years. This, of course, triggered her curiosity, she said.
Scholl said her purpose in organizing the event was “to make sure that he knew how much the industry cared.” Scholl is the founder of Beauty Blessings, a local network of beauty professionals who donate their services to homeless shelters, veterans organizations, and to any other vulnerable communities.
The ceremony starts at 8 p.m., just before the rodeo. Scholl is expected to speak at the ceremony, followed by Flores. Finney will also say a few words to the public.