From bars to barbershop: How one Mankato man turned his life around

Hennis says his faith helped him turn his life around. Now, one of his goals is to help people struggling with addiction.
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 11:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2022 at 11:04 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Seven years ago, life looked very different for Tyson Hennis. In October 2015, he was convicted of theft in Watonwan County and began serving a 45-month prison sentence.

“Drugs, sex, money, criminal lifestyle, I have been in and out of incarceration since the age of 12,” Hennis said.

While he was in prison in 2015, Hennis had what he calls an encounter and felt a calling to turn his life around.

“I remember when this moment happened, I was laying in my bunk and it was almost like someone dropped something on me and I sprung up and I was kind of scared,” Hennis recalled. “I was like ‘what just happened?’ I felt so much life.”

Since being in prison, Hennis is now sober, volunteering at his church, and working full time as a barber at Unique Hair and Ink in Mankato.

“To look at, from going virtually, statistically, I should be dead, in prison, or high to going on eight years sober and I am in my child’s life full time,” Hennis said.

Hennis often dropped off his 14-year-old son at his father’s house so he could go party. Now, he’s fully present in his son’s life. His son now looks at his father in a much different light.

“He used to introduce me as ‘this is my dad, he is always in prison’ ... and now it’s ‘this is my dad, he is always in church.’”

He uses his opportunity as a barber to connect with clients from all different walks of life. Clients come in for a haircut or beard trim and leave with much more.

“I have the understanding because I went through a wide variety of things. Now I have an opportunity to help others because I have been through it,” Hennis said.

Over the years, since beginning this new chapter to where he is now, Hennis has seen a 180-degree change in nearly every aspect of life, from his friend group to how he spends his time.

“I got through the other side, and now I’m here,” Hennis said.

This new life gives Hennis a connection to a new group of connections, serving others while learning more about himself.

“I had the idea at one time in my life where if you have a lot of money and you have everything, you are not going to have problems, which is very untrue. We are all still human, no matter the way you live, and this is why I open my chair,” Hennis explained. “We open our chairs to everyone.”

Hennis wants to make the most of his new life by helping everyone who sits in his chair cut their own path in life.

Hennis says his faith helped him turn his life around. Now, one of his goals is to help people struggling with addiction.

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