Time-Lapse: Homeless US Army Veteran Gets a Makeover and New Lease on Life

Veterans Day is right around the corner, so it’s nice to see that one of the time-lapses making the most impact online over the past couple of days is one showing a homeless US Army veteran being given a makeover and, in some ways, a new lease on life.

In the video above, you can watch Jim Wolf be transformed by the kind folks at Dégagé Ministries and Design 1 Salon & Spa while Rob Bliss Creative captures the entire thing on time-lapse for the world to see.



Wolf has struggled with poverty, alcoholism and homelessness ever since he left the service. And even though the transformation he volunteered for at the hands of the aforementioned organizations was, by its very nature, superficial, it has had more of an impact than that.

Since the time-lapse was made, he has sought out housing and is attending AA meetings for the first time ever, conquering his alcoholism once and for all.

So check out the heartwarming video above for yourself, and if you were inspired by what you saw, consider donating to Degage Ministries so they can continue to do this kind of transformative work with other veterans in need.

(via Laughing Squid)

  • Avi

    Only humans can help each other and this proves it. We should be compassionate and sensitive towards less fortunate and help them than ignoring and moving on as if they don’t exist. This is world is an equal home the way its for you and me. The problem is we just get used to things so quickly and start to take things and people for granted. Everyone has right to live happily and those who are not we need to help them in whichever way we can. He will remember this small act of kindness for his entire life. Sweet and inspiring video.

  • donnii

    nothing to add…

  • Mordecai

    This sort of transformation is pointless – it’s done for the shock value, and nothing more. It’s no different than “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” and other “rags to riches” shows. Once the cameras leave, the goodwill ends. If they really wanted to help this guy, they would have focused not on his clothes – the exterior is not what’s at fault.

  • David

    I must agree. Though i am sure the makeover does help raise this mans personal esteem somewhat the problems that led him to alcoholism and homelessness are interior and psychological ones. Without addressing those one wonders how long he will hold up beyond the range of the lights and cameras. I wish him the best though.

  • RelaxTheyreJustJokes

    Now this is some “white-guy” photography. Am I right? Am I right? – Ba Dum Tiss

  • Technocrat

    True. If you want to do a makeover, go and perform it for every homeless veteran.

  • myname

    I agree… these changes do nothing for the emotional turmoil these poor guys deal with. It doesn’t go away in one day with a $100 hair-do and $1000 suit. They will feel great in the moment but after everyone goes home to their families, they go back to their loneliness. Material things/changes do not make a person happy. When will this world ever come to respect that?

  • myname

    Love how you worded it….

  • Espen

    I saw this earlier today, and I must say this is one great timelapse!

    And: it must be great entering the location as a homeless, and exiting as a Chuck Norris Lookalike :D

  • Bart van der Horst

    A suit is not the solution.

  • Maybe

    But it’s a start.

  • Tim

    I wouldn’t underestimate the value of a transformation like this, especially if you consider some of the other homeless outreach work Degage Ministries is involved with. They’re not only helping to transform the physical appearances of people like Jim, they’re providing them with the gentle treatment and humane support that so many of us often deny the homeless.

    Many of us spend time each day gawking at our reflections in bathroom mirrors in nice warm houses. Jim hasn’t had the luxury of feeling good about his looks like we have; perhaps that’s one of the reasons why he’s been stuck in such a bad situation. Self-esteem goes a long way.

  • Matthew Wagg

    I don’t get it. So they gave a homeless guy a shave and a haircut…

  • tyrohne

    “conquering his alcoholism once and for all.”/endquote

    well. that’s all it is then? a haircut and recycled suit?

    Or, he battles a lifelong disease. Probably goes off the wagon a few more times and hopefully finally hangs up the bottle assuming he can hold it together enough to keep a job.

    Are you 14 years old?

  • olafs_osh

    petapixel… ?

  • Dover

    This is a photography blog and as heartwarming as the video may have seemed, the time lapse was actually on the average side…kind of jerky and contrived. There is nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said in the other comments concerning how superficial this transformation may be to someone with a serious clinical addiction. I know the people in this situation. I have hope for them. I hope this one step is the first of many out of a dark place, but the video kind of had beginning and end feel to it when it is really just the barely beginning.

  • Waleed Alzuhair

    Every bit helps.. Never give up

  • ounkeo

    the belief that the purely visual is superficial is in itself a superficial belief. Videos like this prove that. How a person looks can drastically affect their personal mood, outlook on life, perspective etc.
    Like you said, it is actualisation. Sometimes change triggers from the inside and sometimes change can trigger from the external of oneself. Either way it happens can be powerful.
    I can imagine the Vet above, after having lived so long struggling, what it must do to a person’s self worth & dignity. To one day look in the mirror & see yourself in positive light, to look dignified, can be a very powerful force.

  • ericgregory

    There may be some truth in what you say, but stop being so cynical. If an outward appearance can affect inward change, just roll with it and be happy. Some positive change is better than no positive change.

  • jon

    all this video is saying is that you need to be superficial and then you become successful. highlights and a beard trim = instant homing does it?

  • disqus_6inDdHPI15

    This man is not an idiot . Only misguided . The makeover gives him that brief moment of inspiration and centers him on his true identity. So i completely disagree with the negativity. Someone does something good and everyone has to cut it down. Foolishness.

  • disqus_6inDdHPI15

    Amen and Amen.

  • disqus_6inDdHPI15

    Enjoy living in your negativity. :)

  • neatjunk

    As someone who has worked with many addicted homeless people I can tell you first hand that, although heart warming and interesing, this “transformation” is nothing but a gimmick that will not do any permanent good.

  • Daniel Walldorf

    You are right somehow but I don’t think a photographer can heal wounds from a war. Maybe the army should have cared a bit more about soldiers coming back from war but that’s a whole other topic.

    So maybe he (the photographer) just did as much as he could in the way he could. And if the end “Goes to AA meetings, is scheduled for a housing..” isn’t jus a lie to calm us down, he did have a positive impact on this man.

  • Daniel Walldorf


  • kohcherp

    Guys, we work with images and we know the power of images – how they can affect perspectives and even shape attitudes. Even though a change in outlook does not equate a change in life, but in this case, if this has given him the ability to start hoping, this can be a life changer. There will still be rough roads ahead, but the first step to start to have hope is always the hardest. I hope he will be given chances to turn his life around.

  • Carrie Young

    I see your point, but I have to wonder – if this improves the way people treat him, perhaps he will have more motivation to achieve. It could help him get a job for sure.

  • Bryan

    Jim is my generation veteran from a time when the Government still tried to look after veterans. Now cynicism and the privatization of our military have reduced returning veterans to ‘cost problems’ for corporations who these men and women die to defend and who won’t pay the taxes necessary to restore the lives of the wounded and damaged heroes who do return. God bless the people who help and God….. the people and corporation that won’t

  • Marco Velasquez

    . . . :'(

  • Marco Velasquez

    Did ANYONE read what it SAYS in the article and at the END of the Vid? Jesus people . . . NO WONDER we cant help these vets, most of YOU arent helping enough or putting yourself in THEIR shoes :/.

  • Breno

    I’m usually right there with everyone else rolling my eyes at people who can’t help themselves but write negative comments on every innocent post, but on this occasion I have to side with the opposition. This misguided act of goodwill is not only ineffective, it’s patronizing. I can help but cringe… it’s like watching someone paint over rust.