Iowa deputies vow not to shave for cancer charity

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in northern Iowa will look increasingly scruffy in the coming weeks after vowing not to shave any facial hair as part of a fundraising effort to aid people with cancer.

The beards, mustaches and goatees will start growing officially Friday to help benefit the Floyd County Cancer Friends organization. Each participating member of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department will donate at least $10, but they hope to collect much more from family, friends and others.

Deputy Ben Kostka said 10 deputies and the sheriff will participate in the fundraiser, which is the first collaboration between the department and the charity. Floyd County Cancer Friends, now in its 28th year, helps patients in the county with support in paying for things like travel, lodging and food.

“It’s an idea that several of the deputies had brought up over the last year or so,” he said. “Ultimately, we decided that was something we thought would be good to do for Floyd County and the communities in Floyd County.”

Mae Rodamaker, a founder of Floyd County Cancer Friends, said she was happy with the deputies’ vow to help. She noted that the charity receives its donations through people, and not through any type of fundraiser.

“I’m so proud of them,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”

The department, which will collect the donations in person, has no fundraising goal.

“I think we’re just going to go with it this first time around and see what we can come up with,” Kostka said. “From there on out, maybe we’ll try to step it up each year.”

The deputies will keep the scruffy looks through the end of November. Kostka said the vow will be an interesting experiment for the department since deputies are not regularly allowed to keep facial hair while on the force.

“No beard, no mustache, no goatee,” he said. “No facial hair, period.”

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