A Stone County native is combining his love of helping people feel good about themselves with his passion for entrepreneurship. As part of our celebration of Black History Month, Danielle Thomas introduces us to Chris Fairley.
A typical day for Chris Fairley begins well before sunrise. To say the 43-year-old barber, church deacon, personal trainer and family man is a busy guy is an understatement. Fairley said he wouldn't have it any other way.
Before opening his Wiggins barbershop in 2002, Fairley said he tried a couple of different career paths that didn't quite make the cut. Then he thought, why not make a living doing what he was already doing?
"I started out cutting hair for people for free in the neighborhood," Fairley said. "Decided to go to barber school. And once I decided to go to barber school, got my license, started cutting hair."
Fast forward through the years and Fairley was once again making career moves, this time helping people get in shape.
"I was always training people for free. Just people would come work out with me and their bodies would change," said Fairley. "So I decided to get certified. Turn this into a business, too."
Fairley loves working with kids to improve their athletic skills. He teaches them the fundamentals like speed and hand-foot coordination.
"Sports in this area is down. The reason why it's down is because kids are not playing, getting out playing anymore, like after school, for fun," said Fairley. "Video games. All that stuff. Text messaging is taking over. What I do is I bring them here and we just get out there and play."
In between the practice drills, Fairley has life lessons for the young people.
"I try to get them to be just the best person that they can be at all times. Whether it's on the field, in the world, outside of the school. Wherever," Fairley said. "Try to let them know that it's cool to be smart. I try to challenge them to be different. Not to try to fit in with everyone else. But, hey, be your own person."
Fairley said the person he is is largely because of his faith. At Emmanuel Faith Temple Baptist Church in Wiggins, he is a deacon and president of the church's male choir. He also started a second choir called Men on the Move that performs throughout the local area. Add to that Fairley founded a non-profit organization that puts on a free yearly community event.
"Every year before school starts back in the summer, we try to give the kids just a big day in the park. We all get together. There's a big group of us," he said. "I am also the president of that also. What we do is we do hamburgers. Hot dogs. I play games with them and we just get out there and let them have a good time."
I asked Fairley how he finds the time and the energy for it all. He responded, "That's just who I am. I can't even explain it. As a matter of fact when I'm around people, I just try to give my energy to them."
Fairley likes to stay busy. He is president of a brand new Stone County-based Mardi Gras krewe called the Krewe of Champions, which will have a float rolling in this year's parade in Pass Christian.
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