Heroes Among Us: Helen Young

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Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 11:28 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Every month, WALB and Montlick and Associates join together to say thank you to a South Georgian who has served our country selflessly.

This month’s “Hero Among Us” is an Albany Army veteran named Helen Young.

“As old as I am, I guess I am a historian,” Young said.

She graduated from Monroe High School in 1963 and started her own barbershop in 1965.

When she turned 34, she got the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I recognized I hadn’t seen enough of the world and didn’t have the money to travel the world. So, I decided to join the military,” she said.

She joined the U.S. Army and became one of the Army’s first female military police (MP) officers.

“They didn’t have uniforms for us. They didn’t have no guns that could fit our hands,” Young explained of the early years of having female MPs. “They had never allowed women to be military policeman, and actually I was the second class to go through.”

She graduated from Monroe High School in 1963 and started her own barbershop in 1965.
She graduated from Monroe High School in 1963 and started her own barbershop in 1965.(WALB)

There were some growing pains.

“We still had to wear skirts,” she said. “If you got to chase a criminal with a straight skirt on that doesn’t have a kick pleat in the back because it’s above your knees, and you got to leap over a fence, you’re in trouble.”

She was stationed in Germany.

“I had a chance to visit France and Belgium, which is what I wanted to do because all those places I only read about, but then being there to see them...it serves me well now,” Young said.

Her job was to patrol the post and protect the generals there.

“The most exciting thing that I found myself doing is we had to go and walk the tunnels from the generals’ house out into the field. Well, it was underground. We had to walk all the way out to make sure that someone hadn’t tried to put debris there,” she said. “So, if something happened, the generals would be able to escape.”

She came home to Albany several years later and went right back to her barbershop.

Her friend had been running it while she was gone, and Young has kept it going ever since.

“It’s so much fun. I get to meet people, and I get to train children,” she said. “Most barbershops in Albany came through here, or they were influenced by this.”

She’s even training a 10-year-old right now.

“He is one of five boys. In fact, he is the oldest,” Young explained. “I hope by the time he goes back to school in September, that he will have this skill down. Do you understand how much money his family would save if he cuts hair? And, he will set a tone for the rest of them.”

She even helped train one woman who then cut hair to pay her way through nursing school.

Others have followed in Young’s footsteps and joined the military.

“I wanted them to have a different experience and they will give them chance to grow before they ruin their lives,” she said.

Young also helps out with an organization called “Disabled American Veterans”.

Her work includes lobbying lawmakers in Washington to help solve some of the problems veterans face.

“We were on the ground trying to get the agent orange thing passed for veterans,” Young explained.

She said she’ll keep doing that as long as she can and keep training kids at her barbershop to help give them a better future.

“My health is pretty good. I like people a lot,” she said. “If I can still stand until I’m 90, I’ll be good.”

If you know a current military member or veteran you want to nominate for “Heroes Among Us,” click here.

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