Beard battle benefits local veteran
If local first responders seemed a little unkept and extra hairy last month, it was on purpose and benefits a local veteran.
Beginning Nov. 1, the fellows at the Crook County Sheriff's Office, Prineville Police Department, and Crook County Fire and Rescue entered into a friendly No-Shave November competition.
In support of Prostate Cancer Awareness, the local sheriff's office and police department allowed the staff at both agencies to grow beards or goatees for the month of November. The Crook County Fire and Rescue guys were not able to grow beards or goatees for safety reasons, but they participated by growing mustaches.
To participate in No-Shave November, members had to donate $20 to grow facial hair and were encouraged to collect additional donations.
No-Shave November is a month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness.
Crook County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Bill Elliott, who headed up the fundraiser, reported Thursday that the three departments raised $1,300.
"The sheriff's office came to us and asked us if we knew of anybody who locally had prostate cancer," explained Director of Crook County Veterans Services Shannon Dearth. "Of those that we assist here, we were able to see who actually had it, and we contacted them."
The local veteran who was selected asked to remain anonymous.
On Thursday, Sheriff John Gautney, Police Chief Dale Cummins and Fire Chief Matt Smith picked the best beard/mustache for their agency and announced them the winners of the 2017 No-Shave November contest.
Winners included Detective Mitch Madden from the Crook County Sheriff's Office, Corrections Deputy Anthony Redden-Pickett from Crook County Corrections, Sergeant Troy Wiles from the Prineville Police Department, firefighter/paramedic Sam Scheideman and runner-up firefighter/paramedic Chris Bocchi from Crook County Fire and Rescue.
Last year was the first time for the No-Shave November fundraiser, but only law enforcement officials from the sheriff's office and police department participated.
Elliott said they raised $675 in November 2016 to help a local veteran in Crook County, who also wished to remain anonymous. Sergeant Ryan Seaney, of the CCSO, and Officer James Young, of the PPD, won the best-beard contest last year.
"Thank you to the Prineville Police Department and Crook County Fire and Rescue staff for participating in No-Save November, donating a significant amount of money back to the community," Elliott said. "This is a positive way for Crook County emergency services to give back to the community."
Dearth said he believes this is a great event and something the veterans services office will support in the future.
"It's an absolutely wonderful program, and for the first responders to actually take lead and take point on this and then make it happen, I really think it shows a lot for our community," Dearth said.