On the day before Easter, John and Linda McClellan threw a party for the customers at Wallace’s Barber Shop, where John McClellan cuts hair.
“It is our privilege to give back, because it takes a village to raise a child and together we can make a positive difference,” McClellan said. “I’ve seen what God can do with just a little.”
And it comes from from his personal experience, he added. He and his three sisters and brother lost their father, John McClellan Sr. when he was 8, and their mother passed when he was 27. “Life started out kind of rough, but God made me strong and determined.”
He started cutting hair a year later, at age 9, first on an uncle. (“I gapped him up pretty good,” he said.) He also practiced on his younger brother Andre, who had to go around with a shaved head for some time.
He also made some poor decisions coming up, but was fortunate enough to have mentors and a hardworking mother. He got a job as a bag boy at a grocery store in the Knoxville community and worked in various fields in Florida, Georgia and back in Alabama before starting barber college in 1994.
“I have been working in partnership at Wallace Barbershop with Wilby Wallace (who was getting a haircut Saturday afternoon) for 25 years,” he said.
“My family, the community and giving back are my passion. I know God has allowed people to look out for me, and I will be forever grateful to God, my parents, my wife’s parents and all the people in my life that had my best interests at heart. This is why I will forever pay it forward, mentor other young men and be a positive influence in every person I encounter. I have paid it forward on many occasions, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, client appreciation days Christmas for the children in Knoxville and in Birmingham. And now this year, Easter weekend, God is doing it again.
"To my clients , I appreciate you for choosing me as your barber.”