Rochester officers get bristly for No Shave November

By Georgia Sparling | Nov 09, 2016
Photo by: Georgia Sparling Police Chief Paul Magee and officers Jason Denham, Rob Nordahl and Alex Malo are foregoing shaving for No Shave November, along with Nathan Valente and Scott Smith (not pictured).

Rochester — Things are getting hairy at the Rochester Police Department.

This month, six officers, including Chief Paul Magee, are putting down their razors for No Shave November – a campaign to raise money for charity.

While No Shave November was originally started to raise funds for cancer awareness, many Massachusetts police departments have chosen to support Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program that supports members of the military and their families as they deal with brain injuries, PTSD and other combat-related issues.

Officer Nathan Valente suggested Rochester police take part in the campaign, and the chief agreed. The group set a $1,000 goal, and Magee waived the department mandate against facial hair below the lip for anyone who donated $100 and joined the challenge.

He said supporting veterans makes sense for the department, which has three military men ­– Jason Denham, Bryan Burger and Dylan Hicks.

“The department definitely has an allegiance to veterans and military people,” said Magee. “It’s something in the hiring process that we also consider because they bring a great skill set to the table.”

Denham, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and a current National Guardsman, is the only one of the three servicemen who is able to participate in the challenge due to military and work commitments.

He knows firsthand how important it is to support the troops.

“It’s nice to give back to other service members,” he said. “There are a lot of hidden injuries.”

Since the officers are usually clean shaven, their stubble is already drawing the public’s attention.

“I was approached by almost a dozen people,” said Magee. “The typical comment was ‘Hey, what’s with this?’ That’s what it’s about – starting the conversation.”

The more people who ask about the men’s burgeoning beards, the more opportunities they have to share about No Shave November and the cause that they hope many will support.

Already, the department received a $200 donation from Collision Services in Marion, bringing the total up to $800. The officers hope more people will donate to Home Base as their facial hair grows.

“Military and police are very closely related,” said Officer Rob Nordahl. “They serve and protect us as we serve and protect the public.”

The other officers participating are Alex Malo and Scott Smith.

Donations can be made directly to Home Base or by leaving a check made out to Home Base at the Rochester Police Station.

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