INDIAN SHORES — “No Shave November” turned out to be a clean-cut event.
The Indian Shores Police Department’s fundraiser allowed officers who wanted to participate go all month without shaving.
The fundraiser came to its successful conclusion Nov. 30 with the mayors of both Indian Shores and Redington Shores judging “Best Beard,” the bearded officers on hand receiving a free shave, and $1,500 being raised for the charities Children’s Dream Fund and Clothes To Kids.
Both the Children’s Dream Fund and Clothes To Kids are locally based nonprofit organizations. The Children’s Dream Fund fulfills dreams for children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and Clothes To Kids provides free clothing for school-age children in need.
The six officers who participated in “No Shave November” were Justin Guillory, Matthew Ehrhart, Michael Khron, Kevyn Andrews, Shane Tindall and Ronnie Hadley. Each officer donated $25 to the charity pool for the opportunity to grow his beard during November.
Capt. Glen Smith and Chief Rick Swann seeded the pool, and other staffers from the Indian Shores Police Department also donated. Mayor MaryBeth Henderson of Redington Shores and Mayor Patrick Soranno of Indian Shores contributed for their opportunity to judge the beards. Other town council members and employees from Redington Shores and Indian Shores kicked in donations as well.
Swann spearheaded the police department’s efforts to give back to the community.
“My goal is to change the direction (of the police department) with the community,” the chief said.
Over the course of November, officers dropped out of the beard-growing competition as outside duties compelled them to shave, including obligations such as serving in the military reserves. By the end of the month, Andrews, Tindall and Hadley were the only ones whose beards made it to the finish line.
Master Patrolman Tindall won the “Best Beard” contest by unanimous mayoral vote. The losers each paid an additional $25 to the pool and the winner didn’t have to pay.
Tindall said it was working at the Indian Shores Police Department that motivated him. He attributed his winning beard “to a great work environment and great work staff.”
Stefanec’s Barber Shop in Belleair Bluffs agreed to sponsor a free shave for the officers to get them back to clean-shaven standards on the last day of November, which, coincidentally, was Small Business Saturday. Barbers Elizabeth Meade and Mike Seremetis of Stefanec’s volunteered to stay after closing time to give the officers a professional shave.
Officers Tindall and Andrews availed themselves of the free shave. What had taken a full month to grow was gone in 30 minutes.
“A professional shave like this is so close that it (the hair) sometimes doesn’t start to grow back out for a few days,” said Swann.
Additionally, the Indian Shores Police Department has adopted two children for the Christmas Angels Fund this holiday season. The department received the names and ages of the two children along with each child’s Christmas wish list. Then the officers purchased the wish-list toys for distribution to the children through the nonprofit.
“Officers are embracing the opportunity to do community policing and interacting positively with people in the towns (of Indian Shores and Redington Shores) where we serve,” said the chief.