The Transylvania Times -

BPD Grows Beards To Strike Out Cancer


August 27, 2018

This squirrel sports an unusual beard. It's also unusual to see Brevard Police Department members sporting beards, but they are doing so to raise money to fight cancer.

Local residents may have noticed over the past several weeks that many of the boys in blue at the Brevard Police Department (BPD) are sporting more than a 5 o'clock shadow. Goatees, mustaches, random hair patches and even full beards are sprouting on their faces.

Most of us have heard of No-Shave November, but August? Did they all lose their razors? Is Chief Harris on vacation? Did the uniform and grooming standards change?

No, no, and no.

They are raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer research in support of St. Baldrick's Foundation. Cancer claims more children's lives than any other disease in the United States. As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, St. Baldrick's gives children with cancer their best chance at long, healthy and happy lives.

Earlier this year, the BPD participated in the Strike Out Childhood Cancer event, along with 17 other teams from the area, raising more than $150 for their team, the Bald Squirrels. After that event, Barbara Ritchey, volunteer event organizer for St. Baldrick's of Transylvania County, approached Communications Super-visor Dylan Zachary and Lt. Greg Holden about signing the department up to shave Sept. 22 at the main event at Ecusta Brewing Company.

For safety reasons, officers must have very short hair, and grooming standards dictate officers must be clean shaven when they report to duty. Zachary and Holden put their heads together, spoke to Police Chief Phil Harris about holding their own "no shave" month to allow them to grow facial hair for a good cause. In late July, Chief Harris and City Manager Jim Fatland approved their request.

The official memo reads, "This event will be either $15 a month or $30 for the two months and will end on Sept. 22, meaning you will need to go back to our normal facial hair policy when you report for duty on Sept. 23."

As of Aug. 3, 12 officers had signed up to participate, and Police Chief Harris donated so he can continue to shave.

Some of their wives and girlfriends like the change and some are not too crazy about it, but they know it is for a great cause. Zachary, who gets married in mid-October, wants to start his married life off smoothly - so he is relieved the event is before the wedding!

So far, the Bald (aka Scruffy) Squirrels have raised more $500 and would love more community support. Join their team or donate by visiting the Brevard Police Department at 114 W. Jordan St. or online at teams/mypage/117332/2018.

Team leaders Zachary and Holden can be reached at (828) 883-2212, and Ritchey can be reached at (803) 464-1951.


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