Sheriff Brian Siefker (seated), sporting a particularly fine face full of hair, is surrounded by equally hirsute deputies (from left) Captain Brad Nelson, Corrections Officer Travis Mangas, and Sergeant Mark Brecht. The PCSO and other county law enforcement agencies are taking part in No Shave November to help raise funds for area families confronted with cancer - Putnam Sentinel
Sheriff Brian Siefker (seated), sporting a particularly fine face full of hair, is surrounded by equally hirsute deputies (from left) Captain Brad Nelson, Corrections Officer Travis Mangas, and Sergeant Mark Brecht. The PCSO and other county law enforcement agencies are taking part in No Shave November to help raise funds for area families confronted with cancer. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

PUTNAM COUNTY — Ten years ago, a Chicago family started a Facebook campaign to increase cancer awareness and raise money for cancer research and charities. Ten years later, law enforcement officers in Putnam County, sheriff’s deputies included, have taken that idea and made it their own. For those who have decided to participate, there’s no hiding their efforts — a bit of skin, perhaps, but not their intent.

With No-Shave November, it’s as plain as the hair on their faces.

“There are four children in Putnam County who have cancer, and we recently found out there’s a law enforcement officer who’s grandchild has cancer,” said Sheriff Brian Siefker, whose beard, according to some, is the envy of the department. “So we decided to do this, and include the police departments.”

The rules for participation have been simple: maintain a trim, clean, neat appearance, and pony up $10 per week for the privilege of staying shaggy.

“Whatever we get, we’re going to match it from our Community Projects fund, and we’ll distribute that money to each family equally,” Sheriff Siefker said.

As of the end of last week, the county’s finest had raised nearly $800. With yet another week to go and matching funds from the PCSO, the goal is to reach $2,000.

“Anything we can do to help out our community, especially those kids who have cancer,” Sheriff Siefker added.

And while for some — and possibly many — of those individuals who have answered the calling to protect and serve the No-Shave effort could prove an opportunity to save a few moments every day, foster the non-conformist we each harbor within us, not everyone feels that way.

While attending to his profession at a recent traffic accident in Liberty Township, Sergeant Mark Brecht walked up the road scrubbing at his face.

“I’ve never been so ready for December,” he said, grimacing as he scratched.