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This week in The Times: Andy Garrison

May 12, 2010

Andy Garrison

Vitals: Andy Garrison, 55, was born in Sycamore, but has lived the majority of his life in Rockford. Garrison owns Rapunzel’s Hair Care, where he is also a stylist. In light of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Rapunzel’s and salons from around the world are contributing discarded hair to “Hair for Oil Spills,” as hair is the most efficient substance in terms of absorbing oil.

1. What motivated you to join the “Hair for Oil Spills” cause? I have seen the landfill on Baxter Road. Every time I throw something away, I ask myself, “How can I keep this from the landfill?” We cut a lot of hair, and I was looking for a way to keep it from the landfill. One of my clients heard about this project of making hair mats and booms to clean up the oil last February, so I started saving hair clippings. I went online and got the address and sent the first box of hair last Monday. Its total weight was 15 pounds.

2. How can other salons in the area get involved? Salons can go online and join the organization and get a member number. They will then be given an address to mail hair to. I think the best way an individual can help this cause is to call for an appointment at Rapunzel’s Hair Care. The second-best way to help would be to go to another salon that is participating in this project. If the salon you go to doesn’t participate, you can suggest they do.

3. Is Rapunzel’s involved in any other charitable or environmental causes? This year will be Rapunzel’s 20th year doing “Toys For Cuts.” We open on a Sunday the first week or so in December and cut hair in exchange for a toy donation. The toys are then distributed by volunteers who work with the homeless children in the Rockford area. The shop is also a drop-off point for donations between Thanksgiving and Dec. 15. We are also involved with an Aveda initiative that collects unrecyclable bottle caps, which we have a large amount of. Again, whatever we can do to make sure that those don’t end up in the landfill.

4. What recent positive changes have you noticed in Rockford? I like seeing bike lanes in parts of the city. I commute to work by bicycle most days, and I have noticed a change in the attitude of the motorists toward bicyclists. They seem to be a bit more patient. The bike lanes and bike routes indicate that bikes can share the road with cars.

5. Question from last week’s “This week in The Times” participant, Chris Pfalzgraf: What advice would you give to someone to ensure they kept following their dreams? Try to be the person your dog thinks you are. Success doesn’t always involve a great deal of money, but it always includes happiness.

“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.

From the May 12-18, 2010 issue

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