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Cecil County Life

Stubble for a Cause

Oct 31, 2019 10:32AM ● By J. Chambless

This photo was among the many posted on the Sheriff's Office's Facebook page that allows deputies to chart the progress of their facial hair throughout the campaign.

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

Throughout the month of November, Cecil County residents may notice that the deputies at the Cecil County Sheriffs Office will appear a bit scruffier than usual, but thanks to a good cause, they are actually encouraged to abandon the office's code of proper grooming for the entire month.

For the fifth year in a row, the Cecil County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) will soon kick off their No Shave November campaign, that will allow deputies to violate their grooming policy for the entire month after making a voluntary contribution for Camp Open Arms.

The Maryland-based camp, geared towards children ages four and up who are faced with limb differences, was started in 2015 by University of Maryland School of Medicine pediatric orthopaedist Dr. Joshua Abzug. The camp's goal is to help kids with limb challenges build strength and self confidence and connect with others who are faced with similar abilities and experiences.

In 2017, donations from the CCSO's No Shave November campaign raised over $17,000 and helped more than 20 children born with limb disabilities attend the camp for free. In 2018, that number soared to $27,000. Every dollar raised is tax deductible and goes directly to assist with camp operations.

Several deputies, including Sheriff Scott Adams, had the opportunity to listen to both parents and kids who have attended the camp talk about how their lives had been changed forever because of the generosity of donations. One camper shared, “I finally have friends who are like me.”

Now in its sixth year, the camp is held during the third week in August. It's a full week of activities, and on Aug.14, deputies with the Cecil County Sheriff's Office joined other law enforcement officers in a visit to Camp Open Arms.

“We got to spend the entire day with the kids,” said Deputy Max Vivino, who along with Deputy Kasey Lindecamp is coordinating this year's participation in the No Shave November event at the Sheriff's Office. “Each officer paired with a camper through the obstacle courses. We also participated in karaoke, tug of war and then had an ice cream social with them.”

While it is not mandatory for the male contingent of the Sheriff's Office to grow facial hair for the month, about half actually do, Vivino said. It's part of what Vivino calls a “total involvement” by all officers in all three phases of the office: law enforcement, community corrections, and the correctional division.

“Even if they don't grow facial hair, almost everyone purchases a No Shave November t-shirt (a $30 donation), and we have full involvement in volunteering at Camp Open Arms,” he said. “It also provides a for a lot of fun throughout the month, because several of our deputies post the progression of their beards, goatees and mustaches on our Facebook page. Some post selfie photographs with their children. Others post photos of themselves with their pets, or with their colleagues.”

While the temporary growing facial hair at the Cecil County Sheriff's Office is confined to just one month a year, Vivino said that the truest impact of the Sheriff's Office's involvement in Camp Open Arms is felt during their annual visit there.

“When we go down there, it's a completely different environment, and we look forward to it every year,” Dept. Vivino said. “When we arrive at the camp, we turn our lights and sirens, and to see all of the kids running up to our cars and extended high-fives is such a great feeling.

“It is very rewarding for us to play a role in young peoples lives, and to see them go out of their way to make us feel welcome is a huge moment for all of us.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email rgaw@chestercounty.com.

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