By MIKE BURKHOLDER
Managing Editor of The Evening Leader
ST. MARYS — Members of the St. Marys fire and police departments will be facing off in a friendly challenge during the month of November.
Fourteen police officers and 10 firefighters will be taking part in No Shave November as a way to help raise money for the Cancer Association of Auglaize County. As part of the monthlong event, the 24 men will grow beards, goatees and mustaches all in the name of fighting cancer.
“I thought it would be something that we could do here to give us something fun to do,” St. Marys Police Chief Mark Ernst said. “It would be fun and we could raise a little bit of money for cancer awareness as well.”
Each participant will raise money and can be sponsored by a member of the public. All money that is collected will be donated to the Cancer Association of Auglaize County — a point Ernst said he wanted to stress.
“We figured that money will help local people who are battling cancer,” Ernst said.
“I think just about anyone has had their lives touched by cancer in some way.”
The Fraternal Order of Police has contributed $1,400 to the cause. St. Marys Fire Chief Doug Ayers said the goal is to raise as much many as they can to fight cancer.
While police officers will be sporting a variety of facial hair, the firefighters will be sticking to mustaches. Ayers said that decision comes down to safety.
“We’ve got regulations that will prevent us from growing beards,” Ayers said. “Our face pieces that we wear with our SCBA, we have to have a good seal on it and they fit right where the beard grows. That is a national standard that firemen don’t wear beards.”
Before and after photos of the participants will be placed on the police department’s Facebook page in the coming weeks.
To sponsor a participant, contact the police department at 419-394-2325 or the fire department at 419-394-2361. Donations also may be dropped off at the respective departments.