If you notice Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies and Statesboro Police Department officers looking a little shaggy, they are in no way slacking off on their duties. In fact, just the opposite.
In addition to efforts to keep Statesboro and Bulloch County citizens safe, deputies and officers are doing their part to support the Alzheimer’s Association by laying aside their razors. Deputies and officers will ante up $25 a month for the months of November, December and January for the opportunity to become just a tad scruffier, or, in the official words of the Police Department, “the facial-hair grooming requirement for all sworn personnel will be suspended during this time as long as the employee is participating in the fund raiser.”
Both departments have participated in drives supporting the Alzheimer’s Association previously – the Sheriff’s Office calls their drive “No Shave November,” though it extends into January, and the Police Department dubs their fundraising as “Beards for the Boro,” – but this year they are joining forces.
Interim Police Chief Rob Bryan said he was especially glad to work with the Sheriff’s Office on the project because, “It’s one of our last joint efforts before his retirement,” referring to Sheriff Lynn Anderson’s retirement on Dec. 31.
The drive kicked off Tuesday at the Sheriff’s Office where members of the Alzheimer’s Association, sponsor representatives, deputies and officers gathered for breakfast. Joey Fennell, Sheriff’s Office chaplain, led the group in prayer, praying specifically for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as patient caregivers.
Casey Corley, Alzheimer’s Association Representative, shared startling statistics from Alzheimer’s Association data: More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
Sgt. Travis Tuenge with the Sheriff’s Office admitted with a smile that he may have started the “no shave” event a day or two early, but turned serious when he spoke about his grandmother who died of Alzheimer’s complications in 2013.
“She had the disease for nine years before passing away,” Tuenge, said. “It’s a hard disease for the family to go through. She didn’t know she was sick; she didn’t suffer.”
Tuenge said that many in the Sheriff’s Office have had personal experience with the disease.
“It would be nice not to have anyone else go through it,” he said.
Sheriff Anderson’s mother passed away three years ago at the age of 91 and had Alzheimer’s for about five or six years before her death.
“Her sister died of Alzheimer’s complications in her 50s,” Anderson said. “We’ve dealt with it personally, so it’s kind of special to be able to support the cause.”
Anderson said his department was looking forward to supporting the event.
“We had a big time last year. Alzheimer’s, like cancer, touches everybody in some way and we want to do everything we can to help. We like helping and the deputies like not shaving.”
Growing facial hair for the next three month’s is just the kick-off for the event for the Sheriff’s Office and the Police Department, as both will help with a Boston butt fundraising event on Dec. 20 and support the Jan. 28, 2017 “Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s” at Georgia Southern’s Performing Arts Center, featuring a Paul McCartney tribute artist.
To lend support, people can become a sponsor or learn out about the Boston butt fundraiser or concert tickets. Contact event co-chairs Darron Burnette at (912) 536-4133 or Chandler Dennard at (912) 536-9386 for more information.