By STEVE JONES and Sean Mills Staff writers


BADGES AND BEARDS — A much hairier Rome Police Department has raised more than $2,600 for charity as part of ‘No Shave November’. From left: Patrolman Derek T. Utter, Patrolman Clifford J. Baker Jr., Chief Kevin C. Beach, Sgt. Thomas P. Smith, and Patrolman Kevin M. James. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr. will ditch the razor this month to participate in the American Cancer Society’s "No Shave November" initiative to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

He’s also encouraging all fellow male city employees and others to participate.

In its second year of letting the chin whiskers grow, the Rome Police Department has used this initiative to raise over $2,600 for charity.

"I think it’s working great," said Police Chief Kevin C. Beach, who is sporting his own soup strainer. "Not everybody is growing a beard, however, many of the officers have donated money to the cause."

Beach said the department will be splitting the money 50/50 between the Rome Rescue Mission and Lucy’s House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

At least $830 was donated by the NYE Automotive Group in Oneida, Beach said. The chief’s brother works at the company and raised about $400 from his employees. When the owner of NYE found out, Beach said the owner matched his employees’ donations.

"I really appreciate them stepping up," Beach said.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the U.S.

With about one in six men being diagnosed with the disease at some time during their lives, prostate cancer ranks only behind lung cancer in number of lives taken each year.

In order to raise cancer awareness this month, people across the country are letting their hair grow untamed.

As the American Cancer Society mentions on the initiative’s official website, "embracing our hair as something we may take for granted sheds light on the simple fact that many cancer patients have no choice but to lose their hair during treatments."

To find out more about the "No Shave November" initiative and how you can get involved, visit www.no-shavenovember.com/.