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China Grove officers getting hairy for charity

CHINA GROVE — Facial hair will be the norm for the month of November for members of the China Grove Police Department as they work to raise awareness for men’s health, particularly testicular and prostate cancer.
They will be raising funds throughout the month for Movember, a national organization that provides men’s health education through flyers, newspaper ads and research.
“Chief (Eddie) Kluttz has been encouraging outreach in our community,” Officer Reese Helms said. “This will be our first time with Movember, but we know that there is a real need for men to take better care of themselves.
“Officers will be reaching out to the community by doing something different. We usually have a very strict policy on facial hair, and we are excited that by participating we will cause the citizens to ask questions of us and establish a relationship,” he said.
The official kickoff to the fundraising drive was on Friday at 2 p.m. when five officers met at the South End Barber Shop in China Grove to prove they were clean shaven. Members of the department are being encouraged to grow as much facial hair as possible by Nov. 30.
“We’re going to separate the men from the boys,” Officer Jeff Alley said.
South End Barber Shop is the unofficial headquarters for the effort. Owner Jesse Link says members of the Police Department have been regulars in his shop, particularly since it moved from the southern end of town. Link said,
The shop is now located beside Goodman Farm Supply on North Main Street, but since it has been in business since 1948, Link kept the name.
All officers will meet back at the barber shop for judging and a shave at the end of the month, officially ending the campaign.
“Outreach is most important. We would love to reach 1,000 people,” Helms said.
“As police officers, we don’t have the healthiest job. We sit a lot and we have bad eating habits. Women in our department do a much better job taking care of themselves than the men do. If just one of us is out of work, the others have a hard time covering his duties. Our officers want everyone to know that somebody cares about them,” he said.
The China Grove Police Department is the only Rowan County agency participating in the program. So far nine officers will be taking donations.
“I am excited about this,” Officer Andrew Roland said. “Most people have never seen an officer with a beard. It’s going to be good for the community.”
Donations can be made to Movember/No Shave November by dropping them off or mailing them to Town Hall, 333 N. Main Street, China Grove, NC 28023. Officers with facial hair can also accept donations in person.
Donations can also be made online by going to us.movember.com. Click the “Donate” tab then search for team name CGPD. The site will open with a list of officers participating and donations can be sent to the officer link.
Other health issues such as diabetes and blood pressure will also be targeted.
“I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 34 years. I wear an insulin pump on my uniform,” Alley said. “We need to be interested in men’s health.”
“Most citizens speak to a police officer only on their worst day, such as after a traffic accident. We want to turn this around by having them ask us questions anytime,” said Helms.
Other recent outreach projects for the China Grove Police Department have included presentations to both children and senior citizen groups.
“Every officer is encouraged to visit each of our schools twice a day,” Officer Steven Wood said. “We may not have much time, but we stop by to have a presence as often as we can. Just saying a few words to the staff, parents and students hopefully will encourage them to ask us questions in return if they need to.”
China Grove Police Department staff participating currently are officers Helms, Alley, Wood, Rowland, Thomason, Valentine, Cosgriff and Lambert, as well as sergeants Stillwell and Walther.
Questions about Movember/No Shave November can directed to Officer Reese Helms at 704-857-7755, extension 211 or rhelms@cgpolice.com .

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