The residents of Fort Lyon have taken ownership of the place. It needed work to get to the state that it’s in today, and residents participated in the HVAC installation and the replacement of sewer lines, along with general maintenance, painting, and routine groundskeeping.
In a corner of one of the dorms at Fort Lyon, DV. has set up a little barber shop next door to the room where he sleeps. He’s got a chair, clippers and scissors, all the tools of the trade donated by the owner of a pawn shop in town. That same building houses the campus’s library, coffee shop, and computer lab, and the shop where residents can purchase snacks and personal hygiene products.
When the first group of residents arrived at Fort Lyon, DV was the first one through the door. He watched as more residents trickled in, and one thing he noticed was that everyone needed a haircut. “When I got here,” he says, “cutting hair was the last thing on my mind. My mind was on clearing my mind and trying to straighten up.” But some of his fellow residents evidently hadn’t received a haircut in years, and DV started cutting their hair on a little plastic chair in the hallways and the bathrooms.
“I never would have dreamed what I’ve accomplished since I’ve been here,” he says. “This place changed me. When we first got here, I had to hold onto the railings to help me get up these stairs. Now I could jump up these stairs.”
He points out the window to Building 401. “See that white building out there? I put that building together by myself. It was abandoned for, what? Four years. I reconditioned that whole building, and I maintain it, too. The gym? I put that together. That weight room, that basketball court. I polished them floors. I keep it clean.”
“And I do haircuts,” he adds with a laugh. “And I go to school. I go to AA classes. I stay busy.”